Cutting-edge technology could help local restaurants reopen sooner

Posted at 9:38 PM, Aug 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-08 00:00:17-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – New cutting-edge technology could be the future of safely getting back to some kind of normal.

A thermal scanner, known as a DeCurtis Shield, takes your temperature in less than a second, and it helps to limit the risk of contracting COVID.

The Shield kiosk is the first stop people must make when walking into Croc’s 19th Street Bistro in Virginia Beach.

“It was interesting, because I haven’t seen anything like that before,” Croc’s employee Callie Habr. “It was nice to see different tactics being taken to kind of combat and control all the cases.”

This week was the first time the technology is being used inside a restaurant to test how the device operates in the setting and how it can be improved.

Laura Wood Habr is the co-owner of Croc’s 19th Street Bistro. She partnered with Broadband Telecom and DeCurtis Corporation to bring the DeCurtis Shield to the restaurant for the case study.

“I think we’re all ready to find a way to mitigate this and get doors to businesses back open, and get people back to feeling comfortable,” Wood Habr said.

The kiosk uses a combination of thermal imaging and facial recognition to read temperatures from the tear duct of your eye.

DeCurtis Corporation, a software company, designed the algorithm. The VP of Safety & Security, Matt Winans, said its reading is more accurate than a temperature gun.

“When you sweat, it lowers your temperature, so it gives you false positive,” he said. “When you have a sunburn, that could raise your temperature. By capturing this point in the eye gives us the most accurate location on the face to take a temperature.”

News 3 first showed viewers the cutting-edge technology in June. The Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center was first in the area to use the Shield.

The center’s CEO, Kurtis Hooks, said the DeCurtis Shield has helped to stop dozens of people at the door who potentially could have had the virus.

“We’ve had 30,000 – 40,000 people, between vendors, patients, guests and staff get screened, and we turned away 30-40 people,” he said. “About 10 people were medically treated at a hospital.”

Hooks said the evidence-based screening process has kept patients and staff safe.

“They feel safer,” he said. “Our staff feels safer; our guests feel a higher level of confidence coming in.”

The hope is to have the devices at other local businesses and even large-scale events to help move reopening plans forward.

Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Virginia) recently re-imposed restrictions on restaurants, breweries, wineries and distilleries, some of the industries hit hard by the pandemic.

“It’s pretty fair to say that the restaurant industry has been pretty much devastated by COVID-19 with the restrictions,” Wood Habr said.

For Wood Habr, the data compiled from the device leaves her hopeful that her restaurant and others can operate close to how they did before COVID.

“Technology is our future,” she said. “If we can partner with them to mitigate COVID, we’d be better off.”

According to, Wood Habr, the DeCurtis Shield technology is eligible to be funded through the CARES Act through municipalities.

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