California's COVID-19 Plan Addresses Screaming at Theme Parks

Masks to be required on theme park rides to ‘mitigate effects of shouting’

California’s ‘responsible reopening plan’ tells parks to require face coverings and to modify seating arrangements on rides

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Monday 29 March 2021 19:45
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As theme parks in California reopen, state guidelines say that people riding rollercoasters should wear masks “to mitigate the effects of shouting” in an attempt to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The association's "responsible reopening plan" advises parks to require face coverings and modifying the seating arrangements on rides so that everyone faces in the same direction.

Officials announced earlier in March that theme parks, sports and other outdoor events could resume at limited capacity on 1 April if their area has reached the red tier of California reopening criteria.

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California's "blueprint for a safer economy" plan states that the red tier means that the risk level is still "substantial" and means that "some non-essential indoor business operations are closed".

One of the criteria in the blueprint for reopening is to have the “ability to limit activities that are known to cause increased spread (e.g.: singing, shouting, heavy breathing; loud environments will cause people to raise voice)”.

The guidelines subsequently state that “face covering usage and/or modifications to seat loading patterns will be required on amusement park rides to mitigate the effects of shouting. Additionally, on rides, guests generally face in one direction”.

Disney announced on Wednesday that Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park will reopen at a limited capacity on 30 April.

Michael Ramirez, Public Relations Director at Disneyland Resort wrote in a blog post: "After being closed for more than one year, magic is finally returning to the Disneyland Resort theme parks!"

He added: "Beloved characters will pop up in new ways and sometimes in unexpected places as they remain mindful of physical distancing. Certain experiences that draw large group gatherings – such as parades and nighttime spectaculars – will return at a later date."

Six Flags Magic Mountain said on Thursday that they will reopen on 1 April, also at a limited capacity.

Erin Guerrero, executive director of the Attractions and Parks Association told The San Francisco Chronicle that while the guidance says the effects of shouting should be mitigated, they “do not require parks to prohibit screaming".

Japanese theme park Fuji-Q Highland near Tokyo reopened in June 2020 and asked riders to "scream inside your heart," and challenged people to keep a serious face while on rollercoasters, the BBC reported.

Six Flags Entertainment spokeswoman Sandra Daniels told The San Francisco Chronicle: “Our parks are outdoor venues, and with the physical distancing requirements, along with all of the other protective measures in place, we feel confident about the safety of our guests while on our rides and attractions."

Ms Guerrero said in a statement shared with The Independent that the California Attractions and Parks Association “has never suggested or recommended limiting shouting, yelling, or screaming on an amusement park ride”.

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