Bowling alleys sue Pritzker over number of occupants allowed inside their establishments

A group of bowling alley operators are the latest to challenge Governor JB Pritzker's pandemic rules in court. They complain the number of bowlers allowed inside is way too low.

Stardust Bowl in west suburban Addison has 84 lanes, four lounges, a video game room and a diner.  Their legal capacity is 1,600 paying customers. Since COVID-19, they have been told no more than 50.

“It doesn't make any sense. Go to the average retail store and they can have five-, six-, seven-hundred people in the building,” said Stardust Bowl General Manager Jim Saffold.

With 115,000 square feet under their roof, Stardust Bowl is bigger than most retail stores, which is a point the Illinois State Bowling Proprietors' Association plans to press in a lawsuit it filed in downstate Dixon.

“Retail establishments, restaurants, gyms, tattoo parlors, various places -- they don't have the same restrictions that we do. They have a 50% capacity limit,” said Saffold.

A lawyer who says he represents 300 businesses, mostly in southern Illinois, says he has advised them all to re-open without regard for pandemic rules.

“if you're waiting for Gov. Pritzker and the people that he's controlling to go on TV and say, ‘it's ok for you to open your business,’ no court case, absent the Illinois Supreme Court bringing down the thunder, which is gonna take forever, they're not gonna get that,” said attorney Tom DeVore.

“With the exception of one court in Clay County -- but in every other situation the courts have sided with us,” Pritzker said.

Lawyers for the state of Illinois said they will defend the governor's power to enforce his executive orders related to the pandemic.