KUALA LUMPUR, June 15 — The thump of heavy balls rolling down hardwood floors and crashing into skittles may resound again today, as bowling alleys begin operation today as Malaysia takes steps towards economic revival in the Covid-19 era.
It may seem unlikely, but bowling was once Malaysia’s second most watched sport on TV — after football, of course. Bowling has continued to have a diligent following, thanks to the achievements of the national team in the early 1990s and the success of Shalin Zulkifli, a five-time national sportswoman of the year (1997, 1996, 1994, 2001 and 2002) and multiple world champion.
One such centre that has been gearing up for reopening in the Klang Valley is Sunway Mega Lanes in Sunway Pyramid — which is also where the Malaysian team trains.
Its assistant general manager Michelle Wong said that cleaning and sanitising work has been ongoing at Sunway Mega Lanes in the last few weeks, and amped up since Sunday, after Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the recovery movement control order (RMCO), lifting restriction on select entertainment and sports.
“We have been receiving a lot of enquiries on the status of our operations. Many are eager to come back to the lanes and have a game.
“On our side, we have been cleaning and sanitising the premises on a weekly basis because we need to make sure the entire place is sprayed with disinfectant,” Wong told Malay Mail during a visit last week.
Besides disinfecting the entire interior, signs with crosses printed on them have been placed on some seats in the lounge and dining areas to remind customers to practise social distancing. The spectator area is cordoned off with tape.
Like many other businesses that have resumed operations since the MCO started in March, Wong said the number of patrons allowed entry will also be limited and customers will not be allowed to bring in food and drinks from outside.
Wong said the company does not cut corners and will be very thorough in ensuring full compliance with sanitation regulations and the government’s requirements when it finally reopens its doors to the public.
“We’ve identified the areas that need special attention and are prioritising them. For example the ball rack is one of the most visited areas in the alley.
“Customers will come in and choose balls with the right weight and customisation that suits their hands so we have separated this area.
“Our staff will be on standby to clean the play areas immediately after the customer leaves to ensure proper cleanliness and hygiene. If the balls need to be returned, we will clean them first before placing them back on the rack
“In essence, it’s double cleaning of the bowling balls,” Wong said, of what patrons can expect when they visit.
However, she assured customers that there will be no additional charges despite the extra cost incurred.
“We’re also skipping lanes to provide more space between bowlers and we would recommend everyone use a face mask while we will also do the necessary temperature checks, sanitising the customers’ hands and taking down their details as per the new SOPs.
“Advance bookings are also recommended,” she added.