GOLETA, Calif. — It’s been months since a bowling ball hit the pins at Zodo's Bowling & Beyond.
Co-owner Samuel Walters took over the bowling alley in August and never imagined something such as COVID-19 pandemic affecting his business.
"Obviously it's been really difficult, our business and revenue essential evaporated in mid-March,” Walters said. “We had to shut down, so it's been a battle.”
During the nearly three-month-long closure, he oversaw the addition of a virtual reality studio.
"We've actually taken the time to do some work,” Walters said. “We've reinvested, done some renovation."
In order to keep business afloat, Zodo’s got creative while Santa Barbara County began allowing restaurants to reopen.
Recently, the local bowling center reopened for dine-in service with a newly installed patio in front of their facility.
Customers can now sit inside the air conditioned restaurant and watch TV or enjoy fresh air from the outdoor seating area.
Since mid-March, Zodo’s had temporarily closed its bowling lanes and arcade to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Nowadays, staff members are working hard to follow new safety measures.
"We've been training our staff day in and day out about cleanliness and spacial seating,” Zodo's food and beverage manager Tony Blankenship said. “I hope the guests come back and they know that they're going to be safe.
Donna Yamasaki has been a longtime customer and frequent bowler in Zodo’s Senior League. Despite COVID-19 concerns, she remains quite satisfied with the guidelines set in place.
"I feel safe coming back in,” Yamasaki said. “The way they've got it arranged, we're going to be practicing what we should be doing."
Once they’re able to reopen their bowling alley, Zodo's will skip a lane between groups in order to keep customers six-feet apart from each other.
"It'll be social distancing separation,” Walters said. “We'll be operating at fifty percent capacity, balls will be sanitized in between every use.”
The local bowling center is tentatively planning to resume its bowling leagues on July 6.
"We're selling spending time with people, which we're all in desperate need of these days,” Walters concluded. “We're just really glad that we're in a position to provide a safe healthy place for people to do that."
If the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department moves forward into Phase 3 this week, the bowling alley is prepared to reopen on Friday.
Zodo’s is now serving food every day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. To make a reservation or order takeout, call 805-967-0128