Plagues and medieval times go hand in hand, so it absolutely tracks that the dinner-theater chain and The Cable Guy scene-stealer, Medieval Times, has decided that the (indoor!) show must go on despite a pandemic with no end in sight. Over the past few weeks, Medieval Times has been uploading videos to its YouTube channel detailing the recent reopening of several locations, and from the looks of it so far, Medieval Times 2020 is one very bizarre place to be. (All of the locations had previously been closed since March due to the coronavirus.)
According to the Medieval Times website, the company has put into place several changes in an attempt to make the experience of attending the show as safe as possible. Guests are required to wear a mask and get a temperature check prior to entering the castle, employees have been trained “on new health and safety guidelines,” shows are now booked at limited capacity so that parties are seated spaced apart (at Scottsdale, it’s at 50 percent capacity, according to a local ABC15 report). The entire setup both before, during, and after the show has been reworked for “minimal contact” between the guests and staff — which includes no more autographs by cast members.
All these changes, of course, have been implemented in classic Medieval Times style: The mandatory temperature check for guests, for example, has a sign called “Ye Olde Temperature Check,” while another sign instructs guests to “stay at a sword’s length from your fellow royals.” And you can leave the castle with more than a paper crown for your assigned knight, because Medieval Times now sells its very own pandemic masks.
Of course, Medieval Times is a dinner theater, so regardless of how much the open locations enforce the rules and attempt to space guests apart with minimal contact, a glance at recent Instagram posts by guests at the Scottsdale location reveals that attendees are, obviously, taking off their masks while inside the show. Whether the new setup prevents any outbreaks remains to be seen, but considering that Medieval Times takes place in an indoor venue where guests are typically encouraged to scream and cheer on their assigned knight on his way to victory, it seems a bit risky. But it’s apparently a risk the Orlando, Scottsdale, Atlanta, Dallas, and Myrtle Beach locations are willing to take. (Fun fact: Along with NASCAR and a handful of other events, the Myrtle Beach Medieval Times location was given an exemption in South Carolina’s ban on gatherings of over 250 people earlier this month.) The locations in Buena Park, Lyndhurst, Chicago, Baltimore, and Toronto currently remain closed.
If you are unwilling to take the risk of entering a Medieval Times castle during a pandemic that is very much still happening, you can at least check out how weird the reopenings are thanks to some of the recent YouTube uploads. After that, we highly recommend you watch Medieval Times’ YouTube series, The Making of a Knight, which we are still patiently waiting to be turned into a full-length television series.