News & Politics

With 98.6 You Get Eggroll: Chinese Restaurant in California Taking Customers' Temperatures

Colorized transmission electron micrograph of the novel coronavirus that emerged in 2012 (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases via NIH)

It’s suddenly racist to say “Wuhan virus,” so don’t use that phrase when you pass along the following story. And just to save you some outrage: It’s not a joke, and I’m not making it up.

Janine Puhak, Fox News:

A Chinese restaurant with three locations in California is taking no chances amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, and has started taking every customer’s temperature in hopes of screening for the virus.

Sichuan Impression, a restaurant serving traditional Chinese fare at restaurants in Tustin, Alhambra and West Los Angeles, is officially screening diners for the coronavirus in what’s reportedly a first for the area.

On Friday, manager Summer Guo checked temperatures at the Tustin location, ready to politely turn away any would-be diners with temperatures of 99.8 F or higher, The Orange County Register reports.


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Notice to Prevent and Control Wuhan New Coronavirus (nCoV) Our dearest friends of Sichuan Impression, After a Washington state resident was diagnosed with the new coronavirus infection, a second US case was confirmed in Chicago on the 24th. On the same day, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a top-level tourist warning for the outbreak in Hubei, China, recommending planned travelers to cancel any unnecessary trips to the area. (from BBC NEWS) As a Chinese restaurant rooted in Los Angeles that aims at thriving the traditional Chinese culinary culture, Sichuan Impression also pays close attention to the development of this new epidemic. According to the news, infections are rapidly spreading across China. We at Sichuan Impression respect and enjoy having our guests who come from all corners of the world. Offering you a healthy and safe dinning environment is also upheld as our top priority. After taking careful consideration, we wish to adopt the following prevention and control measures and we sincerely ask for the cooperation from each and every guest: 1. We will use infrared thermometer to measure the temperature of each guest who comes to dine; 2. If any abnormal symptom, such as fever, is identified, we will immediately assist to contact the nearest medical service; 3. If you refuse to cooperate with the temperature measurement, we have to regretfully deny the service to you for the time being; 4. We encourage everyone to order “to-go” for the time being, and will offer 5% off discount for the entire order. It has been 6 years since Sichuan Impression opened, and to treat everyone who comes to dine equally has always been our basic principle. We are grateful for your cooperation during this extraordinary period. Sichuan Impression January 26,2020 #sichuanimpression #锦城里

A post shared by Sichuan Impression (@sichuan_impression_) on Jan 26, 2020 at 7:08pm PST

But when I say Chinese restaurants should start taking people’s temperatures just to be on the safe side…

Seriously though, this doesn’t seem like an unreasonable precaution. If people are scared about the Wuhan virus coronavirus and they’re not going out as much, this makes sense. For a business owner trying to increase foot traffic, “You won’t get sick here” seems like a good selling point. I have no idea whether the media frenzy over this is warranted, but why not be safe? Better than sorry.

This is in California, though, so it seems inevitable that somebody will sue for not being allowed in. We’re not supposed to discriminate against anybody for any reason, even if it might send us to the hospital.

As a near-agoraphobe myself, it doesn’t seem like a bad idea in general to be more aware of how diseases like this can spread. More thorough hand-washing, “social distancing,” being more aware of your surrounding environment, all that stuff is a good idea even when you’re not scared of getting the plague. Of course, if this Wuhan virus coronavirus turns out not to be as bad as the media keeps telling us it is, everybody will just go back to being disgusting slobs in public.

Keep calm and carry hand sanitizer!