Nowadays, people are used to being observed by cameras in retail stores.
But in South Vancouver, the Value on Liquor Store (1450 Southwest Marine Drive) has added a second dimension to enhance the safety of customers and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The manager, Abri van den Berg, told the Straight by phone that the company has installed a Hikvision device to detect body temperatures of those on-site.
"It has a thermal infrared camera as well as a regular high-definition camera," van den Berg explained. "They are side-by-side so when one looks at the screen, you can see a regular picture as well as the thermal resolution."
A laser detects body temperature extremely accurately, according to van den Berg.
The device sets off a warning signal if there's an elevated body temperature.
"It's set to trigger the alarm at 38 ° C, which I think medically would qualify as a fever," van den Berg said. "I am very proud to be involved with this. It's a great tool for any business, but especially for a retail business."
A fever is one of the symptoms of COVID-19, which has been linked to 114 deaths in British Columbia.
T&T Supermarket is manually checking for fevers with a temperature gun. But as far as van den Berg is aware, Value on Liquor Store is the only retailer with automated system.
If anyone shows up at the 7,000-square-foot liquor store with a fever, this will be explained to them and they'll be politely asked to leave.
"For us, it's an investment in the business and in the health and safety of our customers and staff," van den Berg said.
According to van den Berg, employees are pleased to have this new level of protection.
They were already wearing personal protective equipment and the store has dispensers with hand sanitizers.
In addition, van den Berg said that Value on Liquor Store is following guidelines set out by its industry association, ABLE B.C., and provincial health officials regarding occupancy limits and physical distancing.
On Friday (May 1), the store introduced a seniors' shopping hour from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. every day so they'll feel more comfortable in the store during the pandemic. Only those 60 years and older are allowed inside at that time.