Coronavirus Update from China: Disney studies China's experience to prepare for operation in future

LOS ANGELES-- Bob Iger, Disney chairman and former CEO, said the company is "very carefully" studying China's actions in terms of the country's return to normalcy and hinted that Disney World and other parks could screen for illnesses when they are reopened.

In an interview with Barron's published Tuesday, Iger explained that in order to keep customers safe from the fatal novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, some necessary prevention measures such as taking people's temperatures would be applied before an ultimate vaccine was developed.

He argued that safety could basically come from more scrutiny or more restrictions, saying "just as we now do bag checks for everybody that goes into our parks."

He disclosed the team at Disney is studying China's experience. The megacity of Wuhan was finally reconnected to the rest of the world on Tuesday after a 76-day coronavirus lockdown.

"One of the things that's obvious is they've conscripted a large segment of their population to monitor others in terms of their health," Iger said. "You can't get on a bus or a subway or a train or enter a high-rise building there - and I'm sure this will be the case when their schools reopen - without having your temperature taken."

Disney parks are preparing for a world where customers demand scrutinizing everybody, he said, predicting that even if the prevention measures create a little bit of hardship, like taking a little bit longer for people to get in, but people will accept them.

Meanwhile, Iger admitted that the pandemic is the "biggest business interruption" Disney has faced, but he remains optimistic about the long-term prospects of business.

"We know when it ends that we will have things for the public to enjoy and to escape to, maybe in ways they will appreciate more than they ever have," he said.

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