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NO SCREAMING: Japan Amusement Parks Unveil New Scream-Free COVID-19 Guidelines
Twenty-year-old women wearing kimonos ride a rollercoaster after attending a "Coming-of-Age Day" celebration at the Toshimaen amusement park in Tokyo on January 11, 2016. The number of people celebrating "Coming-of-Age Day" in 2016, or adulthood - high by world standards at age 20 - is estimated to stand at 1.21 million, a decrease of 50,000 from the previous year. Every January, Japanese turning 20 celebrate Coming of Age Day, in which the new adults dress in formal kimonos, pray at Shinto shrines and hear speeches from local officials on their new responsibilities. / AFP / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read
KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images

Try riding a roller coaster without screaming.

Screaming is a part of the experience, and it’s emblazoned right in the names of a slew of popular rides, including the appropriately named “Scream” at Valencia’s Six Flags Magic Mountain and “Great American Scream Machine” at Six Flags Over Georgia.

But roller coaster riders in Japan will have to stifle their screams when they plunge down the rails.

Amusement parks around the country, which have been closed since February, are reopening, but they are asking riders not to scream because of the COVID-19 virus.

A group of major theme park operators have set of guidelines for reopening, which includes increased sanitizing procedures, body temperature checks upon entry and a requirement for all park-goers to wear face masks. Social distancing will also be in effect.

“But some items will likely take visitors by surprise. Namely, a suggestion that theme parks encourage visitors riding outdoor attractions, including roller coasters, to avoid shouting or cheering — a tough ask, given how wild some of the country’s rides are,” CNN reported.

The “Guidelines to Prevent the Spread of Infection of the Novel Coronavirus” were issued by the East and West Japan Theme Park Associations, comprised some 30 major amusement park operators in Japan, including Oriental Land Company (operator of Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea) and Universal Studios Japan.

The park operators fear that roller coasters riders who scream will expel droplets, which could be inhaled by other riders. Thus, no screaming. They say the guidelines “will not bring infections to zero, but will reduce the risk of infection.”

The new guidelines also acknowledge that the park-going experience will be diminished, but operators have a plan to solve that, telling park workers “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,” says one of the guidelines.

As noted by Southern California News Group’s Brady McDonald, Japan has some awesome roller coasters, including Disneyland Tokyo’s “Space Mountain” and “Big Thunder Mountain,” while Universal Studios Japan offers the “Hollywood Dream” hypercoaster, “Space Fantasy” spinning coaster and the “Flying Dinosaur” flying coaster. “Steel Dragon 2000” at Nagashima Spa Land “is one of the tallest (318 feet), longest (8,133 feet) and fastest (95 mph) coasters in the world, according to Roller Coaster Database,” McDonald’s notes, while Fuji-Q Highland features what it bills as the world’s “fastest” and “steepest” roller coasters.

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