In Japanese theme parks, no one can hear you scream.

Japan’s theme parks have re-opened – but you can’t scream on the roller coasters

Japan’s theme parks have re-opened – but you can’t scream on the roller coasters

That's the idea anyway, after a group of operators released new coronavirus guidelines for park visitors, following the government's lifting of the nationwide state of emergency early last week.

Set out by the East & West Japan Amusement Park Associations, the wide-ranging rules include frequent body temperature checks, a ban on mascot high fives, and keeping unnecessary conversation to a minimum. So far so sensible, but eyebrows were raised by the suggestion that punters should "refrain from vocalising loudly" on the country's roller coasters.

The logic is hard to deny – screaming propels droplets from people's mouths, which, if infected, could increase transmission of Covid-19 – but the suggestion has been met with scepticism from prospective thrill-seekers.

Screaming is not always a voluntary activity, although there could be something intriguingly surreal about a fully-laden roller coaster completing its course without so much as a squeal.

It is not yet clear what measures could enforce the new ruling, or if any penalties would accompany illicit noise. There is also some doubt as to how one defines a scream, as opposed to, for example, a startled yelp.

Amusement parks are not easy places to regulate in the era of coronavirus, and the guidelines concern everything from rubbish bins to rented strollers.

According to the Japan Times, they also suggest ghosts in haunted houses should "maintain a healthy distance from their 'victims'," and that costumed superheroes engaged in battles with supervillains should avoid whipping up support from assembled crowds.

The operators admit these measures cannot eradicate infection, but pledged to do whatever possible to "reduce the risk".

Around 30 premises will reopen under the new rulings, but Japan's two largest parks – Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan – remain closed for now.