California theme parks instruct visitors to stay silent on roller coasters to stem COVID-19 spread

Group issues new guidelines for its 'Responsible Reopening Plan' 
Roller coaster
Roller coaster
Getty Images

Theme parks in California, set to reopen next month, are telling visitors not to scream or shout – or even to breathe heavily – while on rides, including roller coasters.

“The California Attractions and Parks Association advises in the new guidelines for its "Responsible Reopening Plan" that theme park visitors should avoid activities that increase the spread of COVID-19, such as singing, shouting, heavy breathing and raising one’s voice," reports People.

"This rule applies when visitors are on the parks' rides, meaning guests are recommended to stay silent on roller coasters that usually encourage people to do anything but," the magazine said.

The guidelines will also require park visitors to wear masks on rides. Theme parks in California will allowed to re-open on April 1, but at just 15% capacity. Disneyland plans to open on April 30, but when it does, only California residents will be allowed to visit.

"The day all of us have long been waiting for is almost here," Ken Potrock, president of Disneyland Resort, said in a press release Tuesday. "We're excited to have more than 10,000 cast members returning to work as we get ready to welcome our guests back to this happy place."

The move in California follows one set in Japan last June. A group of major theme park operators there set guidelines to "avoid" screaming on rides.

“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 last June.

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

The guidelines “will not bring infections to zero, but will reduce the risk of infection," the group said.