FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) ─ It’s good news for those who love a good scare.
Gov. Charlie Baker said haunted houses in Massachusetts, specifically those located in lower-risk communities, can open starting Monday, Oct. 5.
Baker announced Tuesday that cities and towns considered lower-risk by the state could transition to the second step of Phase 3 of his reopening plan, which includes allowing indoor performance venues to open at 50% capacity, or a maximum of 250 people.
The Factory of Terror in Fall River is preparing to open for the season, and operator Mike Quill tells 12 News they plan on putting on a good show while also ensuring that their guests are safe.
Quill said they’ve implemented a series of safety protocols for both guests and employees. Everyone must wear a mask at all times, he said, and groups should not intermingle with others.
Instead of showing up and waiting in line, Quill said guests have to order tickets online for a specific time slot. Groups must then wait inside their vehicles until five minutes before their scheduled time slot begins.
Prior to Tuesday, Quill was unsure whether or not the Factory of Terror would open this year at all. But as long as Fall River remains a lower-risk community, he plans to open his house of horrors next week.
“It means a lot to a lot of people, between the staff and the customers,” he said. “We get calls and messages every day asking, ‘When are you guys opening?’ and, ‘Can I buy tickets?'”
After getting the green light by the Fall River Department of Health and Human Services, Quill received a scare from the state when the Massachusetts Department of Public Health classified his haunted house as an indoor performance venue.
“[The classification] is the same as a theater,” he explained. “It is a big difference because at a theater, everyone is in one place at the same time. At our facility, we can spread out people’s arrival time throughout the night. There’s also a one-way flow through the space.”
The facility was given the OK to open two weeks ago by the city under a different business model, but now that the facility is considered an indoor performance venue, he is missing out on those two weeks of business.
“It’s tough. The further we get into October, or into the season, creeping up on October, it’s more and more difficult,” he said. “We only have six weeks of the year to try and make money.”
Quill said while he doesn’t agree with the classification, all that matters is that they’re allowed to open this year.
He guaranteed that guests are not only in for a good scare, but also be safe the entire time.
“We always say haunted houses are a great escapism, a great way to get away from your everyday life, whatever is going on between politics and the pandemic,” Quill added. “It’s a great way to celebrate something that’s totally different than the normal world you live in.”
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