Up until a couple weeks ago, billiard halls had been closed since March. Starting Friday, these establishments are allowed to reopen at 50 percent.
“I was lost, missing this place forever,” said Greg Bombard, an avid pool player from Halfmoon.
What You Need To Know
- Billiard halls in New York can, as of today, reopen at 50 percent capacity
- One local hall's owner says being closed for almost a year was agonizing
- A regional league operator says the economic impact is bigger than some may think
Most of his playing time for more than 20 years had been at Trick Shot Billiards in Clifton Park.
“I know everyone is eager to play,” he said. “Myself and my whole family play.”
For months, the pool hall has been closed to the public and its owners, awaiting an OK from the state to resume operation.
“It was hard to understand,” said Tim Berlin, Trick Shot’s owner.
Berlin, who has owned the pool hall for more than 25 years, says it being closed for close to a year was agonizing.
“When you can go to other businesses that offer similar activities and everything, it was frustrating,” he said.
Now, with the state’s blessing, Berlin and his customers are looking forward.
“It’s not just putting a dollar into the table and shooting a game of pool. There are leagues,” said Ryan Gilligan with American Poolplayers Association of Greater Albany/Saratoga.
Gilligan is the area’s league operator and says the economic impact is larger than you may think.
“Some of these host locations, some of these bars, taverns, VFWs, American Legions, whatever they rely on having people in their establishment for three to four hours at a time, spending money on food and drinks,” he said.
Gilligan is confident the organization will be able to host competition safely.
“The league operators in New York, we have decades of experience,” he said.
Regardless, enthusiasts are settling in at their local billiard halls and catching up with old friends.
“You know, you build relationships,” said Berlin. “It’s good to see people come through the door who I haven’t seen in almost a year, so it’s good.”