Although the ongoing spread of the novel coronavirus is keeping most people at home, many are eager to return to normal life. But what does a post-pandemic world look like? At Disney theme parks, guests may have to do temperature checks whenever Disneyland and Disney World finally reopen.
"One of the things that we're discussing already is that in order to return to some semblance of normal, people will have to feel comfortable that they're safe," Disney's executive chairman Bob Iger said in an interview with Barron's. While Iger acknowledged that much of feeling safe rests on the development of a vaccine, parks could turn to "more scrutiny, more restrictions" in the meantime.
"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," he said.
Iger said Disney has been carefully studying what China has been doing as the country begins to resume normal business following the coronavirus outbreak. One thing the company has noticed is that, in China, people can't enter a high-rise building or board a bus, train, or subway car without first having their temperature checked. According to Reuters, a Honda Motor Co. plant located in Wuhan, China, reopened in March with workers now subjected to daily temperature checks.
Taking a cue from China, which enacted aggressive restrictions and lockdowns in January as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, in the country began to rise, Iger said Disney is preparing "for a world where our customers demand that we scrutinize everybody."
While long lines and wait times weren't uncommon at Disney parks before the coronavirus pandemic, Iger acknowledged that instituting temperature checks could further increase those delays. Still, he maintained temperature checks could be a worthwhile protection similar to those instituted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"Even if it creates a little bit of hardship, like it takes a little bit longer for people to get in," Iger told Barron's. "Just as [was] the case after 9/11 where 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."
Disney parks in the United States have been closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic since mid-March and a spokesperson for The Walt Disney Company has told Romper that its parks will "remain closed until further notice."
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