Indiana entertainment businesses ready to reopen after 3-month shutdown

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INDIANAPOLIS — In just a few days Indiana will enter stage four of Governor Eric Holcomb’s plan for reopening the state’s economy during the coronavirus pandemic. This means places like movie theaters and bowling alleys can reopen.

“You’re only going to be allowed to have one lane open for bowlers, skip a lane, another lane, so we are going to have separation,” explains Linton Calvert who owns Action Duckpin Bowling in Fountain Square.

The establishment started in 1928 but closed in 1957. Calvert says the rest of the bowling alleys in the city had automated machines to reset the pins, but the Fountain Square spot still had “pin boys”. He believes that’s what put them out of business. More than 30 years later, Calvert reopened the business, and will do so again following the coronavirus shut down.

“When you’ve got a family, it’s going to be like home. They are going to touch the bowling balls, and they are going to do their things. We are going to have a cleanup between other bowlers coming on,” details Calvert.

Action Duckpin Bowling is planning to open its doors on June 15 and is starting to take reservations. This could change if Mayor Joe Hogsett chooses to slow down the reopening of Marion County as he has done before.

Movie theaters will have to figure out how to successfully operate at 50% capacity despite people often showing up to theaters in groups. Kan-Kan Cinema and Brasserie is a non-profit film arts center with a European bistro. Edward Battista, who also owns Bluebeard Restaurant and Amelia’s Bakery in Indianapolis, is a partner with the organization.

“So, we had our very first soft opening party, which was a family meal with the staff, the day before everything shut down,” says Battista.

As of now, Battista says they don’t have a new opening date. He believes the logistics simply don’t work for their 146-seat cinema.

“If you do the math on our operation for the theatre it only comes out to about 18% of our theatre could be maintained, and have proper social distance,” explains Battista, “Bluebeard our number is about 22%.”

In the meantime, Battista and his team have combined Bluebeard and Amelia’s Bakery into a full-scale, virtual grocer with curbside pickup. This includes takeout items from Bluebeard. They now have a meat smoker in the area that was their outdoor patio, which will be used to serve food at a walkup counter in their courtyard. The creative approach has allowed Battista to continue to employ more people than if he opened the restaurant at a lower capacity.

“Our goal, before the PPP resources are depleted, is to build an operation that can support all our staff,” says Battista, “Our goal is to bring back all of our people.”

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