TOKYO – Japan’s theme parks are preparing to reopen with new guidelines that seem almost dystopian.
Haunted houses will feature spooks from a safe distance away and rollercoaster rides will be absent of screams, as screaming will not be allowed.
As Japan’s funfairs slowly reopen, a group of park operators have issued joint guidelines on ensuring safe operations in the coronavirus era, AFP reported.
Recommendations range from asking visitors to wear masks at all times and "refrain from vocalising loudly" on rollercoasters and other rides.
Park staff as well as animal mascots and superheroes should not shake hands or high-five with visitors but maintain appropriate distance, the guidelines said.
Superheroes sparring with evil villains should refrain from rousing support from spectators to prevent screams – and potentially coronavirus-laden droplets – from flying through the air.
Virtual reality attractions should not operate unless the special glasses or goggles can be fully sanitised, the guidelines suggest.
Vendors will also be asked not to put out toys or food samples for young visitors to touch, play or eat.
"These guidelines will not bring infections to zero, but will reduce the risk of infection," the operators admit, pledging to continue studying ways to bring down transmission risks.
Japan’s well-known theme parks, including Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan in the western city of Osaka, remain closed and no date has been set for their reopening.
On Monday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted a nationwide state of emergency after a sharp drop in the number of coronavirus cases in Japan. Citizens and businesses have been urged to adapt to a "new normal" in the coronavirus era, including mask-wearing and social distancing where possible.