Businesses are reopening after weeks of lockdown. Stores that have been closed to in-person customers are once more welcoming them in. But will the customers come? Will people take a chance with the coronavirus still running rampant in the country?

As the country phases in work across various industries, the state regulatory bodies have issued guidelines, such as those from Massachusetts,  mandating employers conduct daily health screenings to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  Business owners are faced with the burden of implementing methods to comply with reporting requirements and potential contract tracing requests. Employers wonder what a return to offices will look like amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

One way to help make people more comfortable in resuming their pre-pandemic habits is to offer assurances that the business or store is a virus free zone. Among the approaches are those produced by and for construction firms. For example, a turnkey, contactless thermal scanning system is being offered by Maron Electric, a Powering Chicago contractor, and its technology partner, Malko Communication Services. Powering Chicago is an electrical industry labor-management partnership that invests in consistently better construction within the metro Chicago region.

The approach is a contactless method of identifying elevated temperatures of employees and customers as they enter a facility. The system provides owners, managers, and occupants of commercial real estate with a tool that can be used to mitigate the risk associated with reopening highly trafficked properties. It includes a network of thermal cameras capable of reading the body temperatures of up to 30 people per second and has already been installed in the facilities of one of Chicago’s leading healthcare providers. Accurate to within 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit, the system triggers an alert any time someone is scanned who exceeds the temperature threshold set by the healthcare provider, allowing for additional screening to determine whether the individual is at risk of spreading the virus within the facility.

The camera system passively takes the temperature of each person passing through at designated entrances, providing an efficient, contactless method to protect the health and safety of everyone in the building. Designed to be a turnkey product for customers that can be deployed quickly, Maron and Malko provide installation, setup, and training to ensure the system can be used long-term with minimal ongoing maintenance needs.

While many industries are required to provide daily screening reports to state and local officials, other businesses are looking to offload potential liability and protect their staff. Some of New England’s real estate and construction groups, such as  Columbia Construction, Berkeley Building Company, and Griffith Properties are implementing Tapple’s Touchless Health Screen. Tapple is a mobile technology developer that focuses on the collection of data at live and virtual events without the use of apps.

Developed as a low-cost solution to support businesses as they look to reopen quickly and safely, the platform leverages QR, NFC, and Geolocation and includes:

  • Self-certification through contactless, smartphone QR scanning
  • ID verification for contact tracing
  • Customizable attestation forms
  • Quick data capture and storage
  • Compliance with recommended guidelines
  • Easy access – no app required

Meanwhile, in Europe, German-Swiss entrepreneur Bert Neckermann has introduced Corona Radar to help protect people from COVID-19. The app shows, in real time, nearby persons and their risk status on the phone’s screen. It is GPS (global-positioning system)-based, covering a radius of 3 to about 200 meters. The app works 100% anonymously, is available worldwide, and is free of charge although the developer accepts voluntary donations to support the app.

Users enter their subjective, individually rated health status as low, medium, or high risk. Color-coded dots show distance and movement relative to other app users. Sources of risk can thus be recognized early and avoided.

The use of the app is completely anonymous. There is no registration, no login, no entry of email address or phone number.  The app collects no personal data; every user device is connected to the server only by a randomly generated code that does not allow any conclusions regarding the identity of the user.

When a person with increased risk approaches, the user receives visual and sound signal. An optional, completely anonymous, “personal tracing” function with push notification is in development.

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