FORT STEWART, Ga. — Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield’s Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation efforts were energized during the month of June as the installations reopened bingo halls along with the Marne Bowling Center.
“We reopened June 11,” said Carolyn Lewis, assistant manager of the Fort Stewart bingo hall. “The [Fort Stewart Garrison commander, Col. Bryan Logan] came by to look at it and was very pleased. We also had the Center of Disease Control come over to make sure our spacing was correct, and they gave us the approval to open.”
The Marne Bowling Center opened on June 24 to DOD card holders with COVID-19 risk mitigation measures of reduced capacity and hours of operation.
Both bingo halls and the Marne Bowling Center have implemented CDC and Prevention COVID-19 guidelines to ensure patrons have a safe experience.
Yvette Shepard, assistant manager with Hunter Bingo said before the bingo hall opened, it had to be prepped in accordance with the command safety requirements, to include placing Plexiglas in front of the registers to maintain social distancing.
“The [DFMWR] went above and beyond in their efforts to make the customer’s bowling experience safe,” said Andrea Gulley, operations assistant for the Marne Bowling Center.
People can expect safety precautions to be taken at each establishment.
“Masks are highly encouraged,” Gulley said. “Sanitizing stations are placed at the entrance. There’s proper distance between the lanes, and we clean the areas where the customers are before and after they come in.”
With social distancing in effect, Hunter Bingo took an expansive approach to utilizing their extra space.
“We took our smoking room and turned it into an overflow room, so there is no smoking in the building anymore,” Shepard said. “Currently, we can seat 65 people and with the overflow room, we can add an additional 25.”
Employees at each establishment expressed what reopening means to them.
Lewis said she is happy things are opening back up, and customers are glad to get out of the house, and she is glad to be back at work.
“I have mixed feelings about reopening because of my age and health risk,” Gulley said. “I believe we should all follow the safety requirements, although masks are optional, everybody should remain conscious of what’s going on and be considerate of other people.”
Considering the pandemic, people have participated in the activities and the employees encourage more people to join.
Shepard said the bingo hall has great programs and chances for people to win money. The proceeds go back into the DFMWR fund to pay for operations and programs for Soldiers and their Families.
“We’ve seen a lot of kids that were excited to bowl,” Gulley said. “With our ‘Kids Bowl Free’ program, the children get to have an outlet, which is something they’ve been looking forward to.”
For information on these DFMWR services, call Stewart Bingo at 912-767-4200 or Hunter Bingo at 912-767-4606, and the Marne Bowling Center at 912-767-4866.