California Group Concerned That Screaming on Roller Coasters Could Spread COVID-19


In July, supposedly as a method of combating the spread of COVID-19, the California Department of Public Health required churches in counties that had been on the County Monitoring List for at least three consecutive days to “discontinue singing and chanting activities.”

I must admit, I thought it would be challenging for any regulation to solidify California’s nanny-state status more than banning singing in churches — if they allowed churches to open at all — but the state has surpassed even my most absurd expectations.

KCAL-TV reported Friday morning that the California Attractions and Parks Association (CAPA), a trade group meant to support theme parks in California, is backing a plan that attempts to counteract the possible effects of “shouting and yelling” on thrill rides — such as roller coasters — via the spread of COVID-19.

I guess this means Californians aren’t allowed to outwardly express joy when attractions such as Disneyland’s Space Mountain and Incredicoaster open next month.

This policy largely is based on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published in May which concluded that “loudness of vocalization” is a risk factor for COVID-19 spread.

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On the other hand, CAPA seems to be contradicting its own Responsible Reopening Plan, which maintains that “amusement parks in other parts of the country and across the globe have reopened and currently there are no known outbreaks being traced back to parks.”

Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and CAPA appear to agree on a solution. As CAPA wrote in its reopening plan, “Face covering usage and/or modifications to seat loading patterns will be required on amusement park rides to mitigate the effects of shouting.”

All the plans and guidelines, however, do highlight something crucial — that health officials appear to have no idea how to communicate with normal people, and they also seem incapable of simplifying any of their guidelines.

If they want people to wear masks at amusement parks, all they have to do is recommend them, which would be especially easy considering that California already has maintained a statewide mask mandate since June.

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Americans are more than capable of evaluating risk and determining what is best for them and their families. Locking down everyone and everything is not the answer.

If public health officials truly are interested in protecting the community — as opposed to their own selfish desires or political biases — they need to understand that the melodrama associated with declaring war on shouting only serves to confuse and (rightfully) anger people.

At least part of the Twitterverse agrees. Numerous replies to a tweet by the Disneyland News expressed frustration, disbelief and skepticism:

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As things stand, I would be surprised if California’s cultish devotion to COVID restrictions peters out anytime soon. I wonder when — if ever — the state will fully open.

Another day in which I’m happy to live in open Texas.

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