A Newcastle venue has become the first hotel in the world to trial a new automated temperature scan and facial recognition device created in the Hunter which aims to reduce the risk of COVID-19.
Hotel Delany yesterday launched the CoolGard device, which uses algorithmic infrared temperature scanning to check patrons and staff entering the premises for signs of fever.
The person then enters their details into a system and the facial recognition software saves the data, meaning they only need to have their photo taken next time they visit, rather than re-entering contact information.
Questions are then asked of the person, such as if they have visited a COVID-19 hotspot recently, to deem whether they are safe to enter.
The technology can also keep track of the number of patrons onsite at any time and recognise if people have been banned from various venues.
The CoolGard device was developed by Hunter technology company Pulse Analytics.
"We had been planning to launch CoolGard in Sydney this week but then we heard news about a person with COVID-19 doing the rounds of some Newcastle venues which put our community at risk," Pulse managing director Ash Bosworth said.
"This local scare brought our attention closer to home."
The pub had been doing temperature checks for staff but not for customers prior to the launch of the device.
The same technology is already in use on mine sites, and is set to be rolled out to other venues owned by The Del's parent company Marvan Hotels including The Maryland Tavern and The Flynn Bar. It's also set to be used at Newcastle Golf Club and Mr Bosworth said he hoped to expand it to other venues in the near future.
Hotel Delany licensee Joshua Redman said the technology would provide the pub and patrons with peace of mind.
He said the pub experienced a big drop off in customers after the recent cases in Newcastle, and hoped this technology would help alleviate some of that fear in the community.
"We'll be able to deny people who have a higher temperature, which will hopefully make people feel safer," he said. "In uncertain times it brings a little bit more certainty when people go to the venue.
"And hopefully if more cases do happen in Newcastle, we'll be able to stay open and keep staff in jobs.
"The system will also facilitate the earliest possible intervention in any potential community transmissions involving the hotel, through more rapid and precise and contact tracing."