Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights will institute changes to try and limit the risk of COVID-19 transmission inside haunted houses at this year’s event.
As first reported by the Orlando Sentinel, clear vinyl partitions will be used throughout HHN mazes to separate guests from scare actors. Recent evidence suggests these kind of barriers are unlikely to provide a direct benefit.
Performers and employees will also be required to wear face coverings in indoor settings. The resort already requires workers to disclose whether or not they have received a COVID-19 vaccine.
The same rule will not apply to guests, with Universal still only “encouraging” the use of face masks for visitors, regardless of their vaccination status.
The setup sounds similar to the haunted houses that opened for day guests in 2020, after HHN was canceled due to the pandemic. Plexiglass was used in spots where actors and guests were in close proximity, and masks were required for everyone.
Universal has not been forthcoming with other details about COVID-19 safety guidelines for the event — even amid a surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Florida that have necessitated mobile morgues and nearly exhausted hospitals’ oxygen supplies.
The resort has not said whether guests will be distanced in any way inside HHN houses, and did not respond to questions from Theme Park Tribune about whether ventilation inside the houses has been upgraded in any way due to COVID-19.
Masks are also not required for guests visiting the Howl-O-Scream events at SeaWorld Orlando or Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, in line with the park’s current policies for day guests.
The 30th edition of Halloween Horror Nights will take over Universal Studios Florida on select nights from Sept. 3 through Halloween.