Debate over continued temperature checks at businesses


LOS ANGELES, Calif. (NewsNation Now) — Some businesses across the country are still doing temperature checks to spot potential coronavirus cases, but according to some medical experts, it’s a waste of time and effort.

With the easing of restrictions, L.A. Boutique owner Anna Tabakman also eased up on taking temperatures.

“Obviously if someone had a high temperature I wouldn’t let them in, but that never actually happened,” said Tabakman.

“I’m not against it, but I don’t think it really helps that much,” said one person.

For over a year they became part of the daily routine.

“The temperature check and the symptom screening really have no value, and they’re really worthless,” said Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a University of Southern California preventative medicine specialist.

Klausner is among those health experts urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to update its guidance for medical offices and businesses.

“There’s no benefit to continuing the temperature or symptom screening. In fact, the CDC itself stopped temperature screening its own employees many, many months ago,” said Klausner.

The CDC recommends the screening of employees as an optional strategy and admits it is not completely effective.

The agency’s own study of more than 760,000 travelers last year found only one case of COVID-19 for every 85,000 screened.

With coronavirus cases way down and many people now vaccinated, fewer businesses are doing temperature checks.

Some business owners say they’ve provided some peace of mind during the pandemic.

“So the more you have sanitizer here and everyone’s in masks then they’re not scared to come in, especially if you’re checking temperature, checking everyone’s temperature, so we’re fine,” said Tabakman.

Doctors say there is no real harm in doing the screenings still. They emphasized that the safety measures like temperature checks were in response to a brand new disease.

According to Dr. Klausner, hindsight will reveal other response missteps. As an example, he cited the fact that some COVID-19 patients never developed a fever so the temperature checks would miss cases.

“There’s a lot of measures that were put in place over the past year. It’s gonna take some time to roll things back. I would prioritize the rollback of this measure because it really doesn’t have much value at all,” said Klausner.

While temperature screenings could go, experts say social distancing and masking remain effective prevention tools in many settings, especially for the unvaccinated.

California is one state that’ll continue requiring masks for employees, including those that are vaccinated.

The CDC also still encourages mask wearing in areas with large crowds like concerts and airports.

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