As infection rates lower globally, we’re starting to see countries slowly ease stay-at-home orders and adapt to a post-COVID-19 reality. Our neighbours have eased their MCO at the beginning of this month, New Zealand has “effectively eliminated” COVID-19 and we have our three-phase plan to adhere to when circuit breaker ends on 1st June.
Another nation that is also slowly reopening their country is Japan. The East Japan and West Japan Amusement Park Associations recently released a list of guidelines amusement parks have to adhere to once they’re allowed to resume operations. These guidelines are expected to be enforced until 31st January 2021 and will be adjusted accordingly to the situation in Japan.
Here’s a list of 5 interesting guidelines from the 10-page long document.
1. “Discourage cheering and yelling of any kind.”
This applies to outdoor events and shows, to limit the potential spread of spit and saliva if a crowd gets too excitable from watching a performance. Could you imagine watching an outdoor performance at USS and not be able to cheer or sing-a-long? While this guideline makes perfect sense, I reckon it would be a lot less awkward if these live performances are replaced with pre-recorded performances broadcasted on a screen instead.
2. “Costumed characters should not directly interact with visitors, and visitors should not touch costumes.”
This is a fun one, can you imagine living your childhood now and not being able to get up close and personal with your favourite character for hugs and photos? Or perhaps a new trend of social-distancing photos will emerge as a result of this guideline.
3. No screaming on rollercoasters
Like number two, this is to discourage potential saliva transmission. Amusement park-goers are also expected to wear masks at all times. I predict that this would probably turn into a challenge of sorts, maybe something along the lines of ‘no-screaming-on-rollercoaster challenge’. Screaming goes hand in hand with thrill-seeking rides—I wonder how this guideline will be enforced. What happens when someone screams instinctively? Will they be given a warning? Also what happens when someone’s mask falls off their face during the ride?
4. “Encourage visitors to wear masks and refrain from speaking loudly.”
With social distancing measures, it is a given that amusement parks will not be able to hold as many visitors as before. However, I can imagine that a way to make-up for some revenue loss would be the sale of character masks. Just imagine the number of designs Disney will be able to release with their arsenal of characters? I foresee collecting limited edition masks a thing of our very near future.
5. “There will be no experience areas for children in the store, trial play with samples, and tasting corners.”
Of course, this is enacted for the safety of children. But with all these guidelines would you still be drawn to visiting an amusement park? I definitely see the allure, especially after being holed up at home for about two months now. These guidelines will for sure provide a completely different amusement park experience to what we’re used to. Given the radically different experience will you personally still make the trip?
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