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'Please Scream Inside Your Heart,' Japanese Amusement Park Tells Thrill-Seekers

The Fuji-Q Highland amusement park near Tokyo has an unorthodox request for its roller coaster riders.

"Please scream inside your heart," and not out loud, the park is asking. The unusual ask is meant to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

While some may be skeptical that it's possible to quietly ride a roller coaster, a promotional video from Fuji-Q proves that it can be done.

The video shows two stone-faced, suit-wearing, and completely silent executives ride the Fujiyama roller coaster, the park's main attraction.

The no-screaming guideline was one of several recommendations that Japanese amusement park operators released in late May as the country was beginning to reopen after shutting down due to the coronavirus, according to the Agence France-Presse.

Thrill-seekers have been asked to "refrain from vocalizing loudly" to avoid spreading droplets of the virus, according to the guidelines.

Several park-goers have complained that the request was unrealistic, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. One visitor at Tokyo Disneyland told the Journal that he thought it was "too strict."

"If a scream comes out, it comes out," he said.

In Japan, spread of the coronavirus has been relatively slow compared to many other countries. Japan has seen just over 20,000 confirmed cases and recorded 982 deaths due to the virus.

The United States is the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 3 million confirmed cases and 132,000 deaths due to the virus. But some theme parks are welcoming guests back in the U.S., too.

Orlando's Disney World park is reopening to the general public on July 11 at reduced capacity. A preview for annual pass holders is happening on Thursday, according to the Orlando Sentinel. No scream ban has been announced there.

Florida has seen a surge in coronavirus numbers. Its number of new cases reported per day has risen by 146% compared to two weeks prior.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Austin Horn is a 2019-2020 Kroc Fellow. He joined NPR after internships at the San Antonio Express-News and Frankfort State-Journal, as well as a couple stints in the service industry. He aims to keep his reporting grounded in the experience of real individuals of all stripes.