As Japan slowly prepares for the new normal, people are getting a glimpse of what tourism would look like in a COVID-19 world. Aside from offering to pay a portion of the average tourist’s domestic travel expenses, the country’s association of theme park operators has released new guidelines for their eventual reopening.
Some are pretty basic: population cap, temp checks for visitors, the use of face masks at all times, a cashless payment system for tickets, and the sanitation of glasses or goggles for virtual attractions.
But also included are head-scratchers, such as ‘urging guests to refrain from screaming/shouting’ in thrill rides like roller coasters, social distancing between ghosts and their victims in haunted houses, and prohibiting performers from asking for cheers of support from spectators.
The list was crafted by Japan’s biggest operators, including those behind Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan.
Apparently, the organizers aren’t keen on giving guests any extra reasons to open their mouths, as the coronavirus can spread through saliva. Mascots and park staff are also asked to refrain from high-fiving and hugging guests. In short, amusement parks are back, minus the literal ‘amusement’.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on Japan’s theme park business, with revenues and attendance falling to zero, even during its peak season between March and April.
Still, the reports note that these are just guidelines, so security probably won’t kick you out if you can’t hold in your squeals. But since holding back the thrills kinda defeats the purpose, roller coasters – and theme parks in general – are getting a pass from us for now.
You can read the full guidelines here.