STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. — Like everything else this year, Halloween will have quite a different feel to it - trick-or-treating and costume parties are both on the CDC's list of high-risk holiday activities.
So are indoor haunted houses, but the famously freaky Netherworld Haunted House released its plans to open starting Friday, with what its co-creator says will include a "full slate of carefully planned COVID-19 policies and procedures."
"Along with delivering an incredible experience for our guests, we are dedicated to maintaining a safe environment for both our staff and guests alike," Billy Messina, the co-creator, said in a statement.
The Stone Mountain attraction announced some of those safety policies on Thursday ahead of its planned opening this weekend.
- Limited ticket capacity: The haunted house says all tickets will be date and time specific, so it's strongly recommended you purchase in advance.
Some more info on that: "Timed entry tickets allow guests access to the queue lines during a designated 30-minute timeslot. Up to one half hour before the designated timeslot begins, guests can wait in a socially distanced pre-queue area. Guests should not arrive earlier, if they do, it is suggested that they wait in their vehicle until 30 minutes before the time designated on their tickets."
Also, the operator warns, "Only groups that arrive together (personal bubbles) will be allowed to enter the attractions together."
- Masks: They will be required of guests.
- Temperature screenings: For all staff and guests.
- Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing: Including a "multitude of available hand sanitizer/washing stations."
More info there: "Contact surfaces of the attractions will be cleaned and sanitized before the opening of each night’s performance and between each timed group session during hours of operation,. Additionally, staff members will be consistently cleaning and sanitizing public and backstage areas both before the attractions open to the public and during the performance."
- Closed gift shop: The operator says it will help better ensure proper social distancing, limit touchpoints and maintain a barrier between staff and guests.
- Altered costumed character interactions: There will be fewer of them and "a multitude of new effects, sets, and animations have been added to the attractions to entertain guests in a safe manner."
The haunted house says it will be debuting two haunts, one a monster-themed attraction called "Halloween Nightmares" featuring "eerie shadow creatures, legions of grinning jack-o’-lanterns, the Lair of the Ancient Alchemist, the Chamber of the Elder Thing and the Temple of the Bat God," and a robot-themed one called "Cyborg Shock."
Netherworld will be open this Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then every Wednesday through Sunday until Nov. 1, plus the weekends of Nov. 6-7 and 1-13.
Hours will be 7:00 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 7 p.m.-12 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays in October, and 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Sundays plus all November dates.