NY bill would let businesses take temperatures, refuse entry

Customers, workers or vendors with fever of 100.4 or higher could be denied

(Credit: iStock, Pixabay)
(Credit: iStock, Pixabay)

A world where anyone must pass a fever check to enter a business or building may be closer than you think.

New York Sen. David Carlucci has introduced a bill that would allow any firm or nonprofit to screen out anyone running a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher — the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of a fever.

The bill would take immediate effect if it became law and would be in effect only during New York’s state of emergency.

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The bill comes as three regions of the state (the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley) will begin reopening later this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday. Mayor Bill de Blasio mused that some New York City workplaces could reopen in June, but that’s the governor’s call, and some business leaders don’t expect the city’s white-collar workers back in their offices until at least September.

Under the proposed law, if a business decides to require temperatures as a condition of entering, it must apply to everyone — employees, vendors and customers — and notice must be given on a sign or poster. Temperatures must be taken in a “non-invasive” way.

Workers with a fever would be required to stay home until their temperature returns to normal for three consecutive days. Vendors would be required to leave the premises immediately.

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The bill says that customers must be “discreetly informed” of their fever and then provided with an alternative to obtain products or services without entering.

“Taking a person’s temperature before they enter an establishment is a simple way to identify a potential symptom of Covid-19 and help limit its spread,” Carlucci said in a statement.

“People are taking extra precautions during this crisis, but they still need to go to the grocery store, the pharmacy, and the gas station,” he continued. “We need to ensure that there are systems in place to keep residents even safer when out.”

The measure would not ensure Covid-free environments in businesses that opt in, as many coronavirus carriers are asymptomatic or presymptomatic. Some don’t develop a fever for days after infection, and some never do.

It is unclear when the Legislature will resume voting on bills. The first joint legislative hearing is scheduled for May 13.

Write to Erin Hudson at ekh@therealdeal.com