COVID-19 protocols and procedures
ARLINGTON, Texas - It has been more than 600 days since the last pins fell at the world's largest participatory sporting events, and competitors and staff alike are eager to get back on the lanes to add to nearly 120 years of history and tradition.
With the start of the 2021 United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships and USBC Open Championships right around the corner, USBC has announced and published the protocols and procedures that will be in place this year for competitors in Reno, Nevada, and Las Vegas, respectively, to help the tournaments operate smoothly, despite any ongoing challenges of COVID-19.
"Running our Championship Tournaments is one of the most rewarding things we do each year, and we couldn't be more excited about welcoming the bowlers back to these two incredible events and amazing host communities for the ultimate bowling experience," said USBC President Melissa McDaniel. "It's hard to beat the high ceilings and bright lights as a competitor or the pride we feel each year when we get to call and congratulate the newest champions."
Once at the host venue this year, competitors and employees must wear masks at all times. All tournament-related transactions will be cashless. Team competition will feature one team on each pair of lanes, and doubles/singles will include four bowlers per pair. Spectators will not be permitted at the 2021 events.
The complete COVID-19 protocols and procedures document for this year's Championship Tournaments is available on BOWL.com or by clicking here.
About six weeks from now, the pinsetters at Reno's iconic 78-lane National Bowling Stadium will cycle and hum in unison once again, as they prepare to welcome thousands of ladies back to the Biggest Little City in the World for the 2021 USBC Women's Championships.
The tournament is coming off a memorable 100th edition in 2019, and participants are excited to return to the NBS to see all the renovations that have taken place since their last visit in 2018. The 2021 event will run from April 23-July 4.
The Open Championships will celebrate its 117th running with a special milestone, as competition will be held across two venues for the first time in tournament history.
The event will return to the spacious South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa, where 32 bowlers claimed coveted Eagle trophies on the lanes at the South Point Bowling Plaza in 2019.
Some will see if they can continue that momentum during team competition this year at the 60-lane Bowling Plaza, while the doubles and singles events shift to the nearby 64-lane South Point Bowling Center, just a short walk across the sprawling property. The 2021 Open Championships will take place May 1-July 18.
While it may be a little tougher to see everyone smile behind their masks in 2021, appreciative eyes will speak volumes for the staff and bowlers, whose feedback and cooperation have helped make the return to the lanes possible, following numerous date adjustments, flight changes, hotel rebookings and the eventual cancellation of the 2020 events due to the pandemic.
The last time the Championship Tournaments were not contested was 1943-1945 due to World War II.
"Our host cities and venues have been great partners in helping put all the pieces together for the Championships to run in 2021," USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy said. "Solid protocols are in place, and while this year will have a very different look and feel, the same special opportunity to compete for the coveted national titles and spend time with friends will still be there."
Murphy also added some insight about the process and feedback.
"Over the past year, captains and competitors have answered numerous opinion surveys to guide us. For the Open Championships, 84% of the respondents said mask wearing was at least somewhat important for them to compete. This number was 90% for the Women's Championships. More than 90% said they plan to bowl. We have developed protocols to meet our customers' expectations and safety standards. Our team is excited to invite members back to the Championships after a year off and continue one of bowling's finest traditions."
The guidelines will be the same for both events in 2021 and are based on CDC recommendations, as well regulations set forth by state and local health authorities. The procedures may be adjusted during the run of the events based on changes in regulations due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
USBC recommends that all captains and competitors read through the procedures and protocols before traveling to the events. Specific questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
A look at the top 10 items to be familiar with from the protocols and procedures document:
- All Championships Tournament participants will be required to sign an Acknowledgement of Assumption of Risk Waiver Liability Form prior to competing. This will be included as part of the Green and Pink Sheets at the respective events.
- All staff and competitors must wear a mask at all times, including during competition. The mask must cover the nose and mouth.
- Spectators will not be allowed, except in the case of a minor who is competing, or guests invited by USBC for a designated purpose.
- Social distancing will be required and enforced anywhere in the venue there may be a line, face-to-face service or an opportunity to congregate.
- During team competition, there will be one team per pair of lanes. Doubles/singles will include four competitors per pair. No competitors will be permitted on adjacent approaches at the same time.
- Sanitizing products will be available throughout the venues, and all counters, bowling areas, lockers, token machines and other shared equipment will be cleaned between guests or uses.
- USBC transactions will be cashless, including brackets, side events, membership sales, event sales and Bowling Ball Express.
- All brackets payouts will be in cash and handled by the casinos (Silver Legacy for the Women's Championships in Reno and South Point in Las Vegas for the Open Championships) in designated locations and subject to the property's standard operating procedures.
- All forms (Pink and Green Sheets) and roster information or changes will be sought electronically in advance, and all membership/average verifications will be done electronically prior to competition date.
- Kiosks will not be available for 2022 registration, scoresheets, brackets lookup or participation information. Registration can be done on BOWL.com, scoresheets will be made available digitally and brackets/participation information can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
- Squad room activities will be optional and tailored to meet the local and state requirements. This includes designated staging areas for bowlers and equipment.