Uniquely Baton Rouge: 13th Gate opens with new COVID-19 safety protocols

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BATON ROUGE, La(BRPROUD) For nearly two decades, the 13th Gate has been serving Baton Rouge tricks and treats every Halloween season. This year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, visitors to the 13th Gate Haunted House will have a different experience.

“The customer experience has changed, also the haunted house has changed somewhat” said owner Dwayne Sanburn. “Anything that could touch you or customers could touch has been removed. All curtains, all airbags, anything like that- confined spaces have been moved out and reconfigured so it’s safer throughout the house” Sanburn said.

Sanburn says while COVID-19 safety protocols have been added or improved, so has the fear factor.

“We ask everyone to wear a mask, you’ll also be getting your temperatures taken as you enter the haunted house… then you go in with just groups of six or less” Sanburn said. “It’s going to be a much slower pace this year and that means smaller groups and slower pace which means a much more scary show” he said.

Inside, because of new safety protocols, actors won’t be allowed to touch visitors; and when they scream at the top of their lungs to scare you, they will be masked up.

“We are washing costumes every night” Sanburn said. “Every actor has their own costume, they do not change costumes this year. They do not change spots this year, where one actor would work in different spots. Everyone has their own face mask. We’ve changed the procedure about how we bring people into the costume room and then into makeup. They’re all socially distanced when they’re in the building. Once they go into makeup they wear a mask while they’re in makeup and then they put they’re mask on. Later the makeup department is using all disposable materials this year they’re also wearing masks as well as other safety protocols. They’re doing a lot more cleaning this year and using a lot of airbrush techniques that are touchless” Sanburn explained.

A common sight at the 13th Gate every year is the line of people who wait hours to go inside. This year, in an effort to limit lines and large group gatherings, the 13th Gate has added a virtual cue line, giving visitors safe options to wait.

“It’s going to give you an approximate wait time and that frees you up” Sanburn said. “Instead of standing in that long line- you can now go across the street where we will have outdoor horror movies playing and we also have food, merchandise and the CarnEvil Midway or you can go to one of the areas restaurants like Pastime, or get some liquid courage over at Brickyard across the street” he said. “Or if you prefer, you can stay in your car”.

The 13th Gate Haunted House is now open and runs through November 13th. For information on times and tickets, click here.

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