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As states begin the gradual process of reopening businesses, screening measures have become more important than ever to prevent continued spread of COVID-19. Even as infection rates decline, constant vigilance will be necessary to prevent repeated waves of new cases. One of the most useful tools in protecting ourselves is the non-contact infrared thermometer (NCIT).
The non-contact infrared thermometer is ideal for quick temperature readings in public settings:
NCITs aren't the only tool available in screening, and should be viewed as one facet of a comprehensive strategy that may also include symptom checks and interviews regarding potential exposure, especially of travelers.
Industry leaders have already begun to adopt regular NCIT screening, especially in retail environments. Amazon has instituted temperature checks in all U.S. and European facilities, everything from warehouses to its Whole Foods grocery stores. Wal-Mart, B.J.'s Wholesale Club, Home Depot, and Starbucks are among the other retailers who have provided locations with thermometers for regular temperature checking.
Retail locations are not just checking employees, however. A number of retailers have adopted temperature checks for customers at the entrances, although this has largely been done on a location-by-location basis. The businesses likely to implement this most readily are those where customers are stationary for long amounts of time in close quarters: restaurants, movie theaters, and event venues. Movie theater chain AMC Entertainment has already acknowledged its interest in temperature checks when theaters are allowed to reopen. And there is certainly precedent for this in event venues, as security checks are a longstanding procedure in sports arenas and concert halls.
Security checks are also a common feature of transportation hubs, particularly in airports. There's precedent for this as well: NCITs were commonly used in airports during the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009, and the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic. Infrared thermometers are an important tool in the screening measures that are likely to continue for some time, even after infection rates have declined.