Since Disney World’s theme parks reopened, temperature screenings have been required to enter the parks. Temperature screenings eventually became required for other things too like table service restaurants at Disney World’s hotels and more.
Over the past few months, we’ve shared the details about a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that indicates temperature checks may be ineffective at identifying COVID-19 cases, a statement from one local official indicating that temperature checks are not recommended in Florida’s Orange County, and changes that have been made with temperature checks at other theme parks. And now we’ve got a BIG update about some changes coming soon to Disney World’s temperature checks.
At the moment, temperature checks continue to be required at the Disney World theme parks and other Disney World locations. But, soon that will be changing.
Disney World’s website now notes that they will be phasing “out onsite temperature screenings at Walt Disney World Resort for Cast Members beginning May 8 and Guests on May 16.”
The Disney website notes that Disney has “considered guidance from public health authorities, government agencies, and [their] own team of health and safety experts” since the parks reopened. Disney said that they are making this change “following the advice of the CDC and [their] local health officials.”
They also note that they “will continue to follow the guidance of health and safety leaders going forward and most importantly encourage people to get vaccinated.” You can see the full message from Disney’s website below.
As we mentioned briefly above, recently Dr. Pino, the Director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, stated that the use of temperature checks is not recommended right now. Dr. Pino noted that while temperature checks create a sense of security, they essentially don’t make a difference.
Specifically, Dr. Pino said, “It’s a lot of resources for business[es] and other places just to have one person taking temperatures. So, again, temperature control measures are not recommended at this point.”
Late last year, the CDC conducted a study to see if temperature checks were successful in detecting COVID-19, and determined that “Symptom-based screening programs are ineffective because of the nonspecific clinical presentation of COVID-19 and asymptomatic cases.”
Essentially, what the CDC study noted is that a person could be positive for COVID-19 and not have any symptoms (either because they are asymptomatic or perhaps pre-symptomatic), and so a symptom-based screening method (like a temperature check and symptom-based questionnaire) likely would not be able to identify that person as positive and screen them out.
Recently, we did see some other theme parks in the U.S. remove their temperature screening requirements. We’ve also previously taken a look at whether Disney World’s temperature checks are accurate and the science behind them.
Keep in mind, Disney has said they will “phase out” the screenings beginning on May 8th for Cast Members and May 16th for Disney World guests, but they have not shared any other specific details at this time.
We’ll continue to look for more updates on this situation and let you know what we find.