Please keep your hands, feet and screams inside the cart at all times.
Officials at a Japanese theme park have added a game-changing new rule for customers who use their roller coasters, in an effort to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus among thrill-seekers on the rides.
It’s simple: keep your scream inside while riding the roller coasters. Or, as the park put it, “scream in your heart.”
The Fuji-Q Highland theme park introduced the rule last month after it re-opened following COVID-19 lockdowns in Japan. Essentially, visitors are expected to mask up and keep their mouths shut while they ride the swoops and curves of the roller coaster, so that Japan can continue to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases.
However, the new rule hasn’t been sitting well with some visitors who say it’s extremely hard not to scream on the rides. Customers told the park that the new rules were “severe” and “impossible,” it said.
Park officials responded by demonstrating that it’s entirely possible (though entirely not as fun) to ride a roller coaster with a straight face.
Video posted on the theme park’s YouTube page shows two executives taking a solemn ride on Fujiyama, a ride once considered the fastest and tallest rollercoaster in the world. The coaster is a titanic 2 kilometres long, with a top speed of 130 km/h and a 70-metre plunge.
The video shows the masked, suit-wearing executives rattling around on the ride in silence for about four minutes, even as the coaster dips, curves and dives dramatically on its track. Both of them hold the cart handles throughout the ride, although one frequently removes his hand to fix his face mask.
The park is now using the video as part of a social media campaign that encourages each rider to take a “serious face” selfie while riding on Fujiyama. Many customers have tried the challenge in hopes of winning free tickets, but some people continue to complain, the park told The Guardian.
The new rule might sound like a drag, but park officials aren’t taking it too seriously. The rule is entirely voluntary, and visitors will not be punished for cracking a smile or letting out a yelp now and then.
The park is running its “serious face” promotion until July 17, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.
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