East & West Japan Amusement Associations Release Guidelines for Limiting Spread of COVID-19 at Amusement & Theme Parks

With the lifting of emergency declarations across Japan comes the eventual question – How do theme parks reopen safely? US theme parks are facing the same question right now, with Universal Studios Orlando leading the charge on June 5th. It seems that the East Japan and West Japan Amusement Park Associations along with supporting companies that include Oriental Land and USJ have an idea of where they want to begin. As such, they have released their guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19 across Japan’s many amusement and theme parks. Since the Oriental Land Company is a signatory to this, it would seem this is a fair insight in to how Tokyo Disney Resort will operate once it reopens.

These guideline shall be reviewed and revised as necessary, taking into account the trends in the spread of COVID-19 and the opinions of health experts. These guidelines are currently set to expire on January 31st, 2021, but may be extended or shortened depending on the situation within Japan. It’s a ten page document, and there’s a lot to unpack here. So let’s get going!

Basic Infection Controls

  • Top priorities will include monitoring the health of both employees and visitors, strengthening cleaning and disinfection, and maintaining social distancing of at least one meter apart. However, two meters should be kept apart wherever possible.
  • Admission restrictions should be in place, both for individual attractions and amusement facilities as a whole. Implementations of advance reservation systems should be strongly considered by facility operators. Additionally, visitors should not be admitted in to parks if they have a fever above 37.5 degrees Celsius or show symptoms of the cold or flu. If visitors feel ill, they should be asked to leave immediately.
  • In order to maintain social distancing, preparations should be made to keep parties or individuals at least one meter apart. Employees should also stay one meter away from visitors and each other as much as possible. When it’s necessary for employees to be near guests, such as for ride safety checks, face shields and/or masks should be worn and refrain from speak from as far away as possible.
  • Masks and/or face shields should be worn by visitors and employees. Particularly by employees with regular interactions with visitors. Entertainers who can not wear masks should stay one meter away from visitors.
  • Visitors and employees should be encouraged to wash their hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or to use hand sanitizer regularly. Extra hand-washing stations and disinfectant dispensers should be installed throughout the park.
  • To aid in disinfection, hand washing stations or disinfectant dispensers should be installed at every bathroom and every building entrance and exit. Automatic doors, faucets, toilets, and other automated devices, as well as disposable items, should be used as much as possible. Also, high-contact items like guard rails, benches, vending machine and ticket machine buttons, and other locations with frequent contact should be disinfected frequently.
  • For indoor facilities, windows and doors should be open as much as possible and have air conditioning on to ventilate. If these conditions cannot be met, indoor facilities should be closed or have their capacity severely limited.
  • Electronic cashless payments and self-checkouts should be introduced as much as possible to lower the rate of cash transfer.
  • It is assumed that employees will follow the above measures. Employees should also be checked for fever or symptoms before beginning their shift. Proper hygiene should be observed at all times, and uniforms should be washed regularly.
  • All regulations should be posted on amusement facility websites. Ask visitors to refrain from visiting if they feel ill, have had contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive or is suspected of infection, or has travelled to a country indicated by the Japanese government as high-risk within the past 14 days.
  • Announcements should be made throughout the day to ask visitors to practice social distancing, good hygiene, to wear masks, etc. For parks with high numbers of foreign visitors, these announcements should be made in foreign languages as well.

Attractions

  • At outdoor attractions, disinfection should follow the basic principles laid out in the Basic Infection Controls. In addition, visitors should be encouraged to leave empty seats to promote social distancing.
  • For indoor attractions, the principles for indoor facilities laid out in Basic Infection Controls should be followed as much as possible. Facilities that are difficult to disinfect, like ball pits, should be suspended. As in the Basic Infection Controls, any facility that cannot adequately ventilate should be temporarily closed or have capacity severely limited.
  • VR attractions and 3-D attractions should be suspended unless it is possible for used items to be disinfected between every use.

Park Entrance

  • At ticket booths, employees and visitors should wear masks and/or face shields. Additionally, vinyl curtains or plastic dividers should be considered. Cashless payments should also be encouraged.
  • Encourage use of ticket vending machines, particularly if they are cashless. Buttons and screens should be disinfected regularly, and hand sanitizer stations next to ticket vending machines should be considered.
  • Ticket checkers at entrances should speak as little as possible, obey the Basic Infection Controls, and stay at least 1 meter away from visitors.
  • Consider not stationing employees at park exits.

Shops

  • Suspend business if guidelines for indoor facilities cannot be met.
  • As with ticket booths, employees and visitors should wear masks and/or face shields and be separated by a plastic divider or vinyl curtain. Cashless transactions should be encouraged.
  • Children’s fun corners, sample products for trial play, and taste sampling will be discontinued.

Restaurants

  • As with ticket booths, employees and visitors should wear masks and/or face shields and be separated by a plastic divider or vinyl curtain. Cashless transactions should be encouraged.
  • Hand sanitizer should be installed at the entrance of every restaurant.
  • Use disposable containers as much as possible.
  • Tableware should avoid leftover splashes of water or cross-contamination as much as possible.
  • Regularly ventilate the interior with windows, doors, air conditioning, and fans.
  • Avoid allowing visitors to sit across from other guests. Instead, encourage side-by-side seating.
  • Seats should be spaced apart appropriately, and strongly discourage moving of tables or seats.
  • For buffets, partition and install coverings to protect food from visitors as much as possible. Gloves and tongs should be used and replaced frequently.

Events/Shows

  • Theater events and shows should be limited to half capacity in order to properly secure social distancing.
  • Discourage cheering and yelling of any kind.
  • Costumed characters should not directly interact with visitors, and visitors should not touch costumes.

Toilets and Smoking Areas

  • Toilets should be regularly disinfected. Lids should be kept down, if installed.
  • Hand dryers should be disabled.
  • Outdoor smoking areas should encourage spacing of at least 1-2m apart. Indoor smoking areas may be allowed to operate depending on criteria laid out in the Basic Infection Controls.

Rental Items (Strollers, High Chairs)

  • Immediately after returning, disinfect high-contact areas.

Garbage

  • Garbage handlers should wear face masks and/or face shields as well as gloves. When they remove their gloves, their hands should be washed or disinfected.
  • Collected trash should be quickly moved to a place where visitors cannot touch it, and employees who manage garbage bags must wear a mask and/or face shield and disposable gloves.

While this doesn’t give us exactly what will happen when Tokyo Disney Resort and Universal Studios Japan reopen, we do know that both operators are signatories and supporters of this guide. Hopefully these restrictions are able to be lifted sooner rather than later.

Are you considering or planning a visit to Tokyo Disney Resort? Visit TDRPlans for every detail (and more) that you’ll need to make your trip the best it can be! Did I mention it’s 100% free? Oh, and stay tuned to WDWNT for up-to-date news on Tokyo Disney Resort, Walt Disney World, and Disney Parks worldwide!