Think the lines were long already? Disney executive chairman Bob Iger said the company may institute temperature check at its theme parks once they reopen. In an interview with Barron’s, he said he thinks that might make a traumatized population feel safer once people venture out again.
“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. 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. 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,” Iger said.
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Iger said Disney is “studying very carefully what China has been trying to do in terms of their return to normalcy [and] … 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 noted that major tragedies, including 9-11, have permanently changed the way things operate and people accept the inconvenience.
“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. Just as 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. Or certainly what’s going on in airports with the TSA.”
Disney first shuttered Disneyland and California Adventure in Anaheim, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando and Disneyland Paris Resort on March 14 as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened. At the time, the closures were through the end of March.
On March 27, it extended the shutdown of U.S. theme parks, saying they will remain closed until further notice.
“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,” the company said in a statement then. It said the move was in line with direction “provided by health experts and government officials.”
Disney is continuing to paying hourly parks and resorts cast members through April 18. Last week, the company announced furloughs for all employees “whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time” starting April 19. It began with parks and will be moving through other divisions.
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