Springfield haunted house, maze to open within weeks following COVID-19 guidelines

Two Springfield haunted attractions are opening in the next few weeks with social distancing guidelines in place.

“We’re actually relieved that we can open," Fred Messaros, owner of Face Your Fears Hotel of Terror said. "We added a few things this year not knowing. We’re relieved that people can come out, see it and enjoy the show.”

“We’ve done everything and more for what the guidelines are for our haunted attraction," Paul Deady, owner of Terror Maze said. "We believe that we can provide the same scares and the quality show that we provide every year.”

Both haunted attraction owners said that they have made changes to limit the possible exposure to COVID-19.

Messaros explained that he has eliminated touch-passes, that allow actors to touch guests, and the claustrophobic tunnel at Face Your Fears Hotel of Terror, located at 1291 Cold Springs Rd. He has also widened aisles as much as he could, built polls six feet apart for groups to stand at while in line and assigned a person to walk through the haunted house continuously to clean handrails that may be touched.

“It’s just different," Messaros said. "We just need to keep in mind what needs wiped down and what needs cleaned.

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He added that this year they are going to try online ticket sales where customers can choose time slots to try to limit the number of people in line.

Deady said that he has taken similar steps to ensure social distancing at Terror Maze, located at 6988 Springfield Jamestown Rd., like adding line-parking where people will come in and out of the maze based on when they arrived to the attraction. He has also removed actors where there is not six feet in between them and the guests, adding animatronics in their place.

“We always thought if we weren’t allowed to open or if we felt like it was too much of a risk, then we were okay with not opening," Deady said.

He explained that his wife, Becky, contracted the virus in early April. Becky told the News-Sun that she was sick for about three weeks.

“I think it helps working in the healthcare industry and then having it (COVID-19)," Becky said. "You’re just worried and want to make it as safe as possible for the customers coming through and I think we have.”

Other precautions they have taken include removing hanging decorations and having a hand-washing station.

Both owners said masks will be required by guests and actors and hand sanitizing stations will be available. Groups can not be larger than six people.

Clark County Combined Health District Health Commissioner Charles Patterson said the Ohio Department of Health has not given local health officials specific guidelines for haunted attractions. He said that the haunted attractions should follow the Responsible RestartOhio guidelines for consumer, retail, services and entertainment.

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“Since, there are no specific orders for haunted houses and trails, the consumer retail would apply and they would have to social distance from the clients," Patterson said.

Despite the changes that have been made, both owners said they have added new decorations and scenes to their attractions.

Messaros said they were knocking down a wall in his 1858 4-story haunted house when they found a new cellar that they did not know about - they are calling it the “wine cellar.”

“It’s going to be pretty intense," Messaros added.

Deady said the animatronics that he has added to his indoor and outdoor maze is a positive addition that will make the haunt even better.

“We always add something every year and I think the changes that we made are actually positive ones as far as scariest, the look of the haunt will be better,” Becky said.

Patterson said time, distance and face coverings are three messages that are important during any activity that people plan on participating in this fall.

“It’s when we break our social distancing and don’t wear our masks because the folks are friends or family that don’t live with us – then we start to see the spread of the disease," Patterson said.

Face Your Fears Hotel of Terror opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25. The haunted attraction will be open 8 p.m. to midnight every Friday and Saturday through Saturday, Oct. 31. Tickets are $20.

Terror Maze opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2. The haunted attraction will be open 8 p.m. to midnight every Friday and Saturday through Saturday, Oct. 31. Tickets are $13.

For more information, search for the haunted attractions on Facebook.

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