Japanese amusement parks ask guests not to scream under new coronavirus guidelines

Employees are encouraged to use non-verbal methods of communication with guests 

Chelsea Ritschel
Thursday 28 May 2020 17:23 BST
Japanese amusement parks ask visitors to refrain from 'speaking loudly' (Getty)
Japanese amusement parks ask visitors to refrain from 'speaking loudly' (Getty)

Japanese theme parks have requested visitors refrain from screaming while on rides as the parks move to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The new rule is part of a wide-ranging set of guidelines released by an association of theme park operators in Japan which aim to minimise risks of spreading the virus and ensure the safety of visitors and staff.

Many of the new guidelines, proposed by the East Japan and West Japan Amusement Park Associations, are expected, with guests and employees encouraged to frequently use hand sanitiser, wear face masks and pass temperature checks prior to admittance. The parks will also be operating at reduced capacity and undergo increased cleanings.

While most of the safety measures are ones put in place in many other parts of the world, the amusement parks are unique in asking that visitors riding rides “refrain from speaking loudly”.

Under a section for roller coasters and other attractions, the guidelines state: “At the time of use, encourage visitors to wash their hands and use a hand sanitiser. Encourage visitors to wear masks and refrain from speaking loudly,” which will prevent “splashes”.

According to the theme park association, the limit on verbal communication will apply to employees in certain situations as well, such as when checking tickets upon entry.

“Encourage visitors to strictly adhere to ‘basic infection control measures’ and provide appropriate service such as temperature measurement. At that time, do not speak as much as possible and keep an interval of at least 1m (approx 2m if possible),” the guidelines suggest.

Park employees have also been advised to limit speaking to customers even “if there is a shortage of so-called customer service” and to instead rely on non-verbal clues such as hand gestures.

“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," one of the suggestions states, according to CNN.

While the minimal noise in the reopened theme parks will be a stark contrast to the screams and cheers commonly associated with parks before coronavirus, there will be some attractions such as haunted houses that won’t be noticeably impacted by the safety measures - as masks won’t be required by workers.

Acknowledging that it's difficult for employees such as haunted house workers and performers to wear masks, the guidelines state they should instead maintain a distance of at least 1m from guests.

Most of Japan’s theme parks have been closed since February following the country’s suggestions that citizens avoid crowded places to limit the spread of coronavirus.

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