California Group Considers ‘Effects Of Shouting’ On Rides As Theme Parks Reopen
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 30: A sign for Disneyland Drive hangs near empty amusement rides on September 30, 2020 in Anaheim, California. Disney is laying off 28,000 workers amid the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on theme parks. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Mario Tama/Getty Images

The California Attractions and Parks Association (CAPA) is a trade group that represents theme parks across the state and supports guidance that would attempt to limit the virus-spreading effects of screaming and yelling on rides at amusement parks.

CAPA released a “Responsible Reopening Plan” detailing how parks should be allowed to reopen, adding that outbreaks have not been linked back to amusement parks in states that have allowed the attractions to offer their entertainment and services. The plan includes facts about how amusement parks have built-in qualities that make them optimal places for people to gather as the state reopens. These characteristics include the ability to provide physical distancing, a controlled environment, along with a low risk level for COVID-19 spread.

“Forty-three out of the forty-eight state with amusement parks have allowed them to reopen – the data simply does not point to parks as areas with high transmission rates,” the plan states.

The plan also includes details about social-distancing, including the implementation of practices such as seating people in groups together in order not to mix with other visitors. The guidelines add that “amusement parks will have designated eating and drinking areas and face coverings will be required while guest walk through the park.”

The guidance takes into account the likelihood that people will scream or shout while on rides. It states, “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.”

Amusement parks are preparing for an onslaught of visitors as many attractions re-open and include social-distancing requirements. Disneyland announced that it will start allowing visitors to come to the park in California on April 30. In a Disney Parks blog post, the company explained its new reservation service due to the fact that visitors must book their tickets in advance in order to reduce capacity. The park will also only be allowing California residents to enjoy the attractions for the time being. The blog post includes information about how the park will be following health guidelines, and implementing ways “to promote physical distancing, enhanced cleanliness and reduced contact.”

Theme parks in Los Angeles and Orange counties are allowed to open their doors starting April 1 since the two areas recently entered into the red tier of California’s reopening strategy. The red tier status allows for theme parks to reopen at 15% capacity with no out-of-state guests.

According to CBS Los Angeles, “Visitors are limited to groups of no more than 10 and from no more than three households. No indoor dining is allowed and tickets must be purchased online in advance.”

Earlier this month, California announced that it will permit “outdoor activities at stadiums, ballparks and theme parks to begin to reopen April 1,” according to NPR.

Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency Mark Ghaly said, “With case rates and hospitalizations significantly lower, the arrival of three highly effective vaccines and targeted efforts aimed at vaccinating the most vulnerable communities, California can begin gradually and safely bringing back more activities, especially those that occur outdoors and where consistent masking is possible … Even with these changes, California retains some of the most robust public health protocols in the country.”

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