Hartford, CT — LAZ Parking is piloting new health screening technology in a downtown Hartford office tower -- the first test location in the country -- as the state reopens its economy but remains wary of the dangers still posed by the coronavirus.
Hartford-based LAZ has installed the screening kiosk in the lobby of One Financial Plaza, the “Gold Building,” which can test office workers and visitors for abnormally high temperatures, a symptom of COVID-19.
The screening initially is being used by LAZ employees and would be offered on a voluntary basis to tenants of the Main Street building, Alan Lazowski, LAZ’s chairman and chief executive, said. If successful, LAZ intends to introduce the screening across the country, where it has 3,100 parking locations serving a wide variety of venues.
“If you know that people have been screened prior to entering the workplace, or prior to entering the arena, the stadium, the hospitals or universities -- anywhere there are mass gatherings of people, you’re going to feel more comfortable,” Lazowski said.
The Gold Building was chosen for the pilot because it is half owned by LAZ Investments, a partner of LAZ Parking.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the parking industry hard as public venues shutdown, with LAZ furloughing at least a third of its workers. If workers -- and the general public -- are confident about returning the workplace and entertainment and sporting venues, LAZ will be able to call more of its workers back to their jobs.
Of LAZ’s 15,000 employees, about 1,400 are employed in Connecticut.
The screening relies on a downloadable app and system developed by Centreville, Va-based Parsons Corp., with expertise in defense and intelligence, and Newport, R.I.-based Vizsafe Inc., a software provider specializing in incident reporting and mapping.
Office workers using the screening use the app to complete a series of health questions before leaving for work. The questions include whether they have any symptoms such as cough or fever, and if they believe they have been exposed to the virus. If a black QR code appears on the cell phone screen, the worker is cleared to come to work. A red QR code indicates a COVID screening test likely should be sought out.
Once at work, the employee points the QR code at the screen of the kiosk. If a green QR code appears, the worker places a wrist on the side of the kiosk, and a check is done for body temperature. If a check mark appears on the screen, the worker is cleared to enter the building. The interaction with the screen takes about 5 seconds.
Lazowski said the screening eventually would be for both employees of public venues and members of the general public that visit them.
“Anywhere you have a public gathering outside of the family unit, I believe this type of technology will be required,” Mark Briggs, a senior vice president at Parsons, said, in an interview at the Gold Building.
Peter Mottur, founder and chief executive of Vizsafe, said, “It’s really important to restore public confidence so we know when we are coming back to work or any facility whether its a sporting venue, or an airport, you want to be confident people have been pre-screened.”
Briggs declined to say how much the kiosks would cost, the price depending on customer demand for them. But he said it could be in the “thousands” of dollars.