Disney Parks May Take Guests' Temperatures at Entrance in the Future, Says Bob Iger
"Just as we now do bag checks for everybody that goes into our parks, it could be that at some point we add a component of that that takes people’s temperatures, as a for-instance," Bog Iger stated
With both Walt Disney World and Disneyland closed indefinitely due to the current coronavirus crisis, Disney Chairman and former CEO Bob Iger is reflecting on what the park experience could look like in the future.
In a wide-ranging interview with Barron’s, Iger touched on what’s to come in a post-coronavirus world.
In order for things to return to “some semblance of normal,” people will have to feel safe, he explained.
“Some of that could come in the form ultimately of a vaccine, but in the absence of that, it could come from basically, more scrutiny, more restrictions,” he shared.
“Just as we now do bag checks for everybody that goes into our parks, it could be that at some point we add a component of that that takes people’s temperatures, as a for-instance.”
Temperature screening has been an important part of health checks during the current pandemic. Cruise passengers, for instance, have been screened for fevers among other symptoms before being allowed to board or disembark from ships.
The thermometers commonly used are not the kind many have at home that go in the ear or under the tongue. Instead, most are pointed at an individual’s forehead from a few inches away.
Iger also added that he and the team at Disney are “very carefully” studying China’s actions in terms of the country’s return to normalcy.
“One of the things that’s obvious is they’ve conscripted a large segment of their population to monitor others in terms of their health,” he said. “You can’t get on a bus or a subway or a train or enter a high-rise building there — and I’m sure this will be the case when their schools reopen — without having your temperature taken.”
He continued, “So we’ve asked ourselves the question, let’s prepare for a world where our customers demand that we scrutinize everybody. Even if it creates a little bit of hardship, like it takes a little bit longer for people to get in.”
Still, some experts disagree about the effectiveness of checking temperatures as a screening method specifically for COVID-19.
Asymptomatic carriers may not register a fever, for example. And a sick person can mask a fever using medication, among other issues, according to the Washington Post. Still experts note, just having temperature screening points serves as a reminder to people that other safety measures, like social distancing, are important to observe.
Iger pointed out that Americans have already adjusted to similar small inconveniences following other major traumatic events in the country, like increased security checks put in place following the attacks on September 11, 2001.
“People ultimately lived with the notion that in order for them to enter a building, if you’re in an office building you have to show a picture ID or get your picture taken and be screened. Or in order to enter a park you have to put your bags out there to be checked and you go through some kind of metal detector. Or certainly what’s going on in airports with the TSA.”
Disneyland and Walt Disney World announced on March 27 that they will be closed indefinitely amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The parks were originally planning to reopen at the end of March after a two-week closure.
The company shared the announcement in a statement on their official Twitter, writing, “While there is still much uncertainty with respect to the impacts of COVID-19, the safety and well-being of our guests and employees remains The Walt Disney Company’s top priority.”
Currently, Disney has closed all of its attractions, hotels and stores in North America.
In Asia, where Disney parks were also closed, some portions of Shanghai Disneyland have now slowly begun to reopen.
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