ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Bernalillo County is officially green, according to the state’s newest rules for reopening. That’s big news for those businesses in Albuquerque that have been shut down for more than a year.
There is a lot of excitement around these reopenings. Business owners told KRQE News 13 there are also a lot of challenges now that they’ve finally gotten the green light from the state to welcome back customers.
“We’re just very excited!” Barbara Silva, of Silva Lanes Bowling in Albuquerque, said on Friday. “Excited to be able to get back to somewhat normal.”
For the first time in months, people in Albuquerque can go to a bowling alley. “It’s been a struggle, you know it’s been hard,” said Silva.
Silva’s family and Silva Lanes have been in business in Albuquerque for decades. Some of their staff has been there just as long, Silva said.
“We had to lay everybody off including ourselves,” Silva explained. “And just trying to keep the business alive to be able to reopen has been pretty tough.”
Classified in the state’s Public Health Order as a “recreational facility,” Silva Lanes, along with amusement parks like Cliff’s, family entertainment centers like Main Event, trampoline parks, and indoor entertainment venues like movie theaters, have been completely shut down in the pandemic.
“It’s kinda turned my world upside down,” said Keif Henley, owner of the Guild Cinema in Nob Hill. “So, we’ve been doing a lot of virtual cinema,” he added.
Now that Bernalillo County is green for the first time under the state’s county-by-county reopening criteria, business owners are scrambling to get staff, supplies, and logistics in order to reopen at 25% capacity inside. “I thought there would be more lead time than this, and then I’m having people contact me saying, ‘Are you guys gonna open this Friday?'” Henley said. “I was caught off guard.”
At 25% capacity, The Guild Cinema can fit about 26 people in the theater. “We could kinda get along, barely,” said Henley. He said he’s felt the love from long-time patrons throughout the pandemic, but it’s been tough.
Lanes at the bowling alley will be spaced apart ten feet, and masks are required. “The bowling balls get cleaned and the shoes between every use,” said Silva.
Some places aren’t ready just yet, and hope to reopen next week. However, business owners said they’re excited to welcome people back.
“Come and see us!” Silva said. She said most of her staff agreed to return. However, other businesses are still struggling to rehire staff.
Bernalillo County has not been in the green since the state started the color-coded framework. Bowling alleys in particular were open for a few weeks in the fall, but have been mostly shut down since March of last year.
According to its website, Cliff’s Amusement Park is hiring staff and opening with limited hours starting Saturday, May 8.