Madsen’s Bowling and Billiard’s refuses to close despite order from health department

This is a developing story.

Madsen’s Bowling and Billiard’s was ordered to close by the Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department on Saturday. The notice of closure, presented by LLCHD said the location would need to shut down by 2 p.m. and remain closed for 24 hours.

The compliant alleged DHM violations including pictures of employees not wearing masks and guest not standing 6 feet apart.

The owner, Ben Madsen, says he will not close. When he talked with the Lincoln Police Department, officers told Madsen they would not enforce the closure and that it was up to the Health Department.

The billiard is currently having a pool tournament inside, Madsen said it will continue.

Read the press release from the Lancaster County Health Department here:

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) today notified Madsen’s Bowling & Billiards, 4700 Dudley Street, that they were not allowed to operate for 24 hours because their violations of the latest Directed Health Measure (DHM) “presented a risk to public health and contribute to the community spread of COVID-19.”  The order is in effect from 2 pm. today to 2 pm. Sunday, August 2 and includes EJ’s Lounge & Grill at the same location.

A mask mandate is included in the DHM that went into effect Monday, July 20 and is in effect through August 31. It requires business owners to ensure their patrons age five and older wear face coverings any time they cannot maintain six feet of separation with non-household members. Madsen’s is also licensed as a food establishment, and employees who have close contact with the public – including greeters, wait staff, cashiers, and others – are required to wear face coverings.  The DHM also requires businesses to limit parties of eight or less; to maintain at least six feet of distance between tables of patrons; and to limit capacity. The Lincoln Municipal Code authorizes the Health Director to order the closure of any business for the purpose of controlling communicable diseases.

Information on the DHM and its requirements have been widely available on the City website and repeatedly reported through local media.  Health Director Pat Lopez said LLCHD has received numerous allegations of DHM violations at Madsen’s.  On July 29, LLCHD staff  met in person with Madsen’s management and provided the current DHM along with information on how the business could comply.  LLCHD continued to receive additional allegations of DHM violations between July 29 and 31.  On July 31, LLCHD staff inspections of bars and restaurants included Madsen’s, where significant violations were identified. The violations included signage on doors indicating that the wearing of masks was optional, employees not wearing face coverings, and no physical distancing of patrons.

LLCHD said those who observe someone not wearing a mask in public should stay six feet away from the individual and should not call law enforcement emergency or non-emergency numbers.  The public can make complaints regarding business compliance through the UPLNK app or the website, Businesses with specific questions about the face covering requirement can call the Health Department at 402-441-6280.  More information on the mask mandate and the exceptions is available at


Categories: Breaking News, Health, Lancaster, Nebraska News