No screaming, please: Japan amusement parks issue new COVID-19 guidelines

CNN
July 10, 2020 - 4:21 pm
Japan Toshimaen Amusement Park

Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images

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(CNN) — Thrill-seekers in Japan will soon get to enjoy their favorite roller coasters again now that amusement parks around the country are reopening.

But there's one request they might struggle with: No screaming.

With Japan lifting the state of emergency this week, a group of major theme park operators has introduced a set of guidelines on how to ensure the safety of both guests and staff in the face of COVID-19.

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Many of the items are to be expected, recommending increased sanitizing measures, regular body temperature checks and face mask use while emphasizing the importance of social distancing.

But some items will likely take visitors by surprise. Namely, a suggestion that theme parks encourage visitors riding outdoor attractions, including roller coasters, to avoid shouting or cheering — a tough ask, given how wild some of the country's rides are.

The guidelines also say that if it's difficult for some employees to wear masks due to the nature of their work — for example entertainers, such as haunted house staff — they should keep at least one meter away from visitors.

Customer service may also be compromised, note the guidelines, as conversations should be kept as short as possible.

"As a new style of customer service, even when you're wearing a mask, you can use a combination of smiley eyes, hand gestures, etc., to communicate with visitors," says one of the suggestions.

The guidelines were issued by the East and West Japan Theme Park Associations, which are made up of more than 30 major amusement park operators in Japan, including Oriental Land Company (operator of Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea) and Universal Studios Japan.

Aside from the published guidelines, some amusement parks have implemented their own rules.

Fuji-Q Highland, a theme park at the foot of Fuji Mountain that's famous for its haunted house experience, is only opening its outdoor attractions and only allowing entry to visitors living in Yamanashi, Nagano, Niigata and Shizuoka prefectures.

Major theme parks in Japan have been closed since as early as February to combat the spread of COVID-19. Though some Japanese theme parks are beginning to welcome guests again, Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Japan have yet to announce reopening dates.

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