Theme Parks Have A Plan To Keep You Safe From COVID-19. Step 1: No Screaming
Theme parks are coming back a lot sooner than expected in California, following changes to the state's reopening guidelines that will allow the parks to open as soon as April 1. The organization that represents theme parks across the state has a plan for how they will make you feel safe, along with some requests for those about to partake in thrill rides.
That includes keeping your mask on throughout the park, unless you're in a designated eating and drinking area. They're also working to "mitigate the effects of shouting" — in other words, helping to reduce the particles spraying from your mouth onto others when the Incredicoaster starts going really really fast.
Along with face coverings, the trade organization recommends that parks consider modifying seat loading patterns to help with potential concerns caused by those shouts. They note that guests facing in one direction on most rides will help — of course, that may not be that comforting when you're behind someone else who can't avoid letting out a scream.
The parks organization also recommends promoting and monitoring physical distancing, limiting mixing by grouping family/household units together, and limiting interactions through the use of signs, staff, recordings, and barriers.
Individual parks will all have their own plans specific to their sites, so we'll keep an eye out for what Universal Studios, Disneyland, and others are doing in their efforts to keep visitors safe while also reopening before most people are vaccinated.
While the state is changing when exactly parks can reopen, they’ll still have to follow state reopening guidelines. These industry recommendations are largely in line with the state, though those state guidelines currently go further than the industry recommendations in many areas. Starting April 1, theme parks within counties in the red tier — which includes both Los Angeles and Orange counties — can reopen at a maximum of 15% capacity under the new state guidelines. It's requiring small groups, with a maximum of 10 people or three household groups, with no mixing between groups.
For indoor attractions, time restrictions are being required. There's also no indoor dining allowed, a required weekly worker testing program, in-state visitors only (with minimal travel recommended based on the state's travel advisory), and online ticket purchases only.
Even once counties move into lower tiers, indicating moderate or minimal spread, the maximum capacity the state plans to allow remains at 35%. It's unclear when theme parks will be allowed to go back to their full capacity.