Universal Studios Japan has announced that Super Nintendo World will not be opening next month, thanks to ongoing pandemic concerns. Universal Studios Japan released a statement on its official website confirming the news, and saying for fans to stay tuned for more updates.
The statement reads: “After carefully considering the current situation from various aspects when declaring a state of emergency to Osaka Prefecture on January 13, we will postpone the opening of the new area ‘Super Nintendo World’ scheduled for February 4 after the cancellation of the state of emergency declaration.”
The attraction was originally supposed to open on Feb. 4, but has been pushed back thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Major restrictions are in place throughout Japan, particularly in areas like Tokyo and Osaka. These urban areas have high risk of infection due to population density, and localized restrictions on gatherings are not being lifted until Feb. 7 at the earliest.
That may change in the future, as reports of mutated coronavirus strains spreading globally becomes more commonplace. There are concerns that these mutated strains may reduce vaccine and treatment efficacy. There are studies being performed that suggest that some vaccines will work just as well. Pfizer, the maker behind one line performed a recent study that showed the current vaccine effective against both current and mutated strains. The primary concern with these new strains is that they appear to be more effective at rapid transmission, posing a greater health risk to everyone.
At the time of writing, a new date has not been set for when the attraction will open. Universal Studios Japan will have to abide by the ruling and guidance of local officials for when it’s safe to open the park. That is likely months away as COVID-19 vaccines still need to be deployed to much of the world. And even after various countries have completed initial waves of vaccination in 2021, there’s going to still be a focus on safety for much of the year, possibly into 2022. The reason for this is that much of the world will not have completed vaccination by 2022, especially in poorer countries, leading to localized hotspots of COVID-19 that pose a risk of spread through travel.