FOX VALLEY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Calumet County, Fond du Lac County, Outagamie County, Winnebago County

Neenah haunted house prepares to open for the season with adaptations for Covid

Fox Valley Regional News

NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV) — This week, the CDC released its guidelines for celebrating Halloween safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Traditions like trick or treating or visiting haunted houses were both listed as “high risk” activities.

Matt Mars, owner of the Burial Chamber in Neenah, told Local 5 Wednesday that he and his team have been working for months to lessen the risk.

“I think a lot of people are just excited to do something fun,” he said, “basically we had a whole bunch of stuff to figure out this year, Covid related.”

The most obvious change: face coverings will be required for all guests and employees when the attraction opens Friday.

“We’ve got the mask mandate in place, which helps us do what we need to do,” Mars explained. “We decided we need to do it whether or not the mask mandate was going on, just because we want to make sure everyone’s safe and everyone’s comfortable.”

He added that, after doing a few trial runs through the haunted house while wearing a mask, the restriction itself doesn’t cause discomfort.

“You just forget about it, you forget about the fact that you’re wearing one, you forget about the fact that any of the workers inside are wearing them,” Mars said.

That’s not the only adjustment the Burial Chamber has made.

“So we’ll have three attractions open at one time and then just have one of our haunted houses closed to help us for social distancing,” Mars explained.

Employees will also be temperature checked before each shift, and they will also be required to fill out a health questionnaire.

Plans in place, they’re just about ready to open.

“All that stuff takes effort,” Mars said. “You have to get plans, try to figure out how do we want to handle it? What do we need to do? And so we’ve burnt up a lot of time just trying to figure out what to do for Covid.”

The scares will start on Friday, which is a week later than they would normally begin.

“I wasn’t sure,” Mars said of the opening. “I wasn’t sure how many people would come out.”

But as opening night gets closer, he says he’s heard plenty from people in the community excited for a good scare.

“There’s so many things that they missed, it’s nice they can come out and do something they love and they’ve been doing for years,” Mars said. “Scream out some of your stress. It’s a good place to do it.”



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