If you’ve been on the internet—or, um, outside — lately you’ve may have noticed a game called Pokémon Go that is suddenly taking the world by storm. A free download for Android and iOS devices, Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game that mixes real-world elements with the game using your phones GPS, camera, and clock to hunt for virtual Pokémon anywhere in the real world.
Released July 6, the game has skyrocketed in popularity. Hospitals across the country are pleading with gamers to not crowd their campuses in the name of hunting fictional characters.
When the virtual Pokémon appear on the map, gamers can flock to that location. This has raised an issue for many hospitals, including Saginaw, Mich.-based Covenant HealthCare.
“While Covenant HealthCare believes it is great physical exercise for children to hunt for Pokémon, the hospital is not the place to do this,” Larry Daly, a system spokesperson, said, according to MLive. “To ensure extraordinary care for our patients, Covenant prohibits entry into the hospital to hunt for Pokémon. Our security department and the local police have been alerted to this issue.”
Utah Valley Hospital in Provo became aware of four Pokéstops—real world locations where players can get virtual items to aid in their Poke-catching quest—on campus. The stops, a large statue inside the hospital atrium, a time capsule in the main entrance, a statue outside by the fountain and another near the helipad have the potential to be trouble for patients, or, in the case of the helipad, be dangerous to the players.
“If there are extra people who are here not for a patient care reason, then that can cause problems,” said Janet Frank, the hospital’s spokesperson told the Daily Herald.
Meanwhile, hospital administrators sent an email out to Nationwide Children’s Hospital staff in Columbus, Ohio asking to keep an eye out for Pokémon Go players trying to enter restricted areas of the hospital in an attempt to capture the creatures showing up there, according to Destructoid.