Theme parks in Japan are now strongly discouraging patrons from screaming to their heart's content while on roller coasters. The no-screaming rule has been added to the re-opening guidelines set by the East and West Japan Theme Park Association earlier released in May as a necessary preventive measure to slow down the spread of novel coronavirus infections. These guidelines are to be adopted by most of Japan's theme parks.
This may seem a little inconceivable to ask from roller coaster enthusiasts being thrown from side to side, flipped and turned at breakneck speeds. But the logic behind it comes from the fact that virus transmission can easily come from one's intense screaming, as droplets get blown out of one's mouth in the midst of a vocal meltdown.
However, customers are not convinced this is even remotely possible. A spokesman from one of the parks, Fuji-Q Highland, told the The Wall Street Journal, "we received complaints that the theme park association's request to not make loud noises was impossible and too strict."
In response to this, Fuji-Q Highland released a four minute video to prove this could be done. The video shows two of its high ranking executives seated next to each other onboard the park's Fujiyama roller coaster wearing stoic facial expressions while enjoying the ride in silence. The video concludes with the message: "Please scream inside your heart."
This effort also comes with a fun #KeepASeriousFaceChallenge to encourage riders to play and try out this new riding norm by putting on their most serious face while photos are taken during their entire ride. They can share these photos online and those with the best serious expressions get free day passes. The challenge runs until July 17.
Although the no screaming rule may be quite a feat to enforce - park officials say there will be no punishment or penalties for violators. This was meant to give customers a sense of confidence and safety, as people start to slowly return to normal life.
The theme park association assures the public that strict safety protocols are still in place, requiring customers to wear face masks, temperature checks as well as reduced park and ride capacity.