Amusement park association wants quiet thrill rides, no hugs as part of post-coronavirus closure reopenings.

The coronavirus pandemic has been rough on many businesses, but it’s been especially devastating for amusement parks. Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea, as well as Osaka’s Universal Studios Japan, have been closed since late February, dropping their attendance-related revenues down to zero even during Japan’s Golden Week Spring vacation period that straddles the end of April and beginning of March.

But with infection numbers decreasing, amusement parks are looking ahead to what sort of precautions they’ll need to put in place in order to reopen. To that end, the East Japan and West Japan Theme Park Associations have prepared a document titled “Guidelines to Prevent the Spread of Infection of the Novel Coronavirus,” which says it has the agreement of Oriental Land Japan and USJ, the companies that manage Tokyo Disneyland/Disney Sea and Universal Studios Japan, respectively.

The document, which was posted by Mie Prefecture’s Nagashima Resort hot spring facility to its website, lays out a number of suggested policies. A lot of them seem like they’d be pretty easy to implement, such as capping admission to parks and individual attractions, or checking guests’ temperatures at park entrances and denying admission to those with fevers, and also asking all guests to wear masks while inside the park. The associations also ask entertainment facilities to encourage the use of cashless payment systems and advance purchase tickets, to shorten the amount of time spent standing in lines and handling cash.

The guidelines then move into discussing how to manage the attractions and rides themselves and things get tricky. Again, some of them, like keeping windows and doors to indoor attractions open for better ventilation, don’t seem like they should be that hard to follow, but then you come to this:

Roller coasters and other conveyance-style attractions

Have guests wear masks, and urge them to refrain from shouting/screaming.”

▼ Shhh

The cathartic release of tension that comes from yelling your guts out at the most intense part of the ride is sort of the whole point of riding a roller coaster. Shouting and screaming are the exact responses they’re designed to produce, after all. But with the coronavirus being an airborne infection, the associations would rather not have riders’ breath, saliva, and other mouth-sourced particles flying around.

It’s not only thrill rides that the guidelines want guests to remain quiet while enjoying, though. “Refrain from shouting/screaming” also shows up in the sections for indoor attractions and costumed character shows, which would cover Japanese amusement parks’ terrifying haunted houses and also excited squeals of “Kawaii!” for any cavorting mascots. Speaking of which, the document also asks park managers to instruct staff, including those in costume, to refrain from hugging or any other sort of physical contact with guests, and to develop gestures that can communicate friendliness since employees wearing masks (another listed guideline) will make it harder to see their welcoming smiles.

At the moment, these are just guidelines, so it doesn’t look like you’ll be thrown out of Disneyland for getting scared on Space Mountain. Still, if the experience of riding a roller coaster is an even split between fun and frightening for you, the guidelines suggest you’re probably better off waiting a bit longer before your first post-closure day at Disneyland and getting a temporary fix with a virtual visit instead.

Source: Nagashima Resort via IT Media
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