The Startling Thing Some Amusement Parks Won't Allow During Reopening
Japanese theme parks are insisting roller coaster riders refrain from this common behavior.
Amusement parks are cautiously reopening amid the coronavirus outbreak all over the world. And while many are implementing safety measures to make sure employees and guests stay COVID-free, Japan's theme parks have a particular guideline that's raising eyebrows. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Japan's theme park association asks that roller coaster riders avoid screaming, because doing so can release possibly COVID-19 infected droplets into the air.
In the event you think a silent roller coaster ride is impossible, Fuji-Q Highland amusement park released a promotional video showing two mask-clad executives stoically riding the coaster in complete silence, which ends with a message: "Please scream inside your heart."
Watch the promotional video below:
As silly as this idea might seem at face value, there is accepted science behind Japan's guideline. Speaking loudly, singing, and, yes, screaming, are all activities that increase the number of respiratory droplets that leave your mouth, studies have proven. So, if you are infected with the coronavirus, that means screaming on a roller coaster could infect your fellow riders.
Japan's theme mark association guidelines are being followed by almost all amusement parks in the country, including Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. Tokyo Disneyland operator Oriental Land Co. told The Wall Street Journal that it was "following the industry's guidelines and asking riders to think of the safety of others," but "screaming violations won't be punished."
Like most coronavirus guidelines in Japan, the screaming suggestion is just that—a suggestion, not a mandate. Even without strict laws, Japan has been largely successful in keeping coronavirus at bay. Because mask-wearing in Japan is nearly culturally universal, as of July 9, the country has recorded less than 1,000 total deaths from COVID-19. The U.S., comparatively, has seen 208,255 COVID-related deaths, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
Stateside, Disney World is set to reopen on July 11, despite Florida being among the four new coronavirus epicenters in the U.S. Face masks will be required for all Disney World patrons, but there are no rules in place that prevent screaming… yet. And for more on Disney in a pandemic world, check out 8 Major Ways Disney World Will Look Different After Coronavirus.