Right now many local businesses are taking extra steps to insure their customers and employees are safe. From face masks, hand sanitizers, and temperature checks, most of us are checking off the steps before frequenting our favorites places.

Now a local restaurant is the first to cover all three in one quick process. The Fireplace in Fenton just unveiled a new machine, the first in the United States, that scans individuals for a face mask, takes their temperature and mists them with a safe disinfectant all in just 15 seconds.

Photo: Joe Gilbert

The Fireplace owner Joe Gilbert says the installed the machine assure his customers and employees felt comfortable at his restaurant."It was just one more step in making people feel safer. I think it's a game changer for not only bars & restaurants, but for schools as well."

The machine, called the Genatek GT1000, was engineered and developed right here locally by Goodrich High School alum and Fenton resident John Cooper. Cooper said he started the development of the walk-through unit just as things were starting to unfold with the coronavirus pandemic. "We knew it needed all the elements such as temperature, facial recognition for masks and the sanitizer based on CDC guidelines and we wanted it all in one," he said.

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The GT1000 works with facial recognition that detects whether someone is wearing a face mask, and gives the customer a no-touch temperature reading. The machine then automatically dispenses hand sanitizer when approved. This is then followed by an optional full-body sanitation mist the company says kills 99% of pathogens. "It takes 15 second total, in and out, and it's very safe," says Cooper. "The product in the mist is FDA approved and same used on your vegetables in your grocery store".

So how do Gilbert's customers feel about the new safety measure? "I would say the majority, about 80% plus have been positive about it and most people think its a great idea. People feel safer", he said. "Places have had to shut down due to having employees test positive. This lets me evaluate my employees at the start of each shift and send them home if they have a temperature."

The machine is distributed by Genatek Global, LLC based out of Flint, Michigan.  The unit cost approximately $24,000, but Cooper says their are lease options and rental plans available. Take a look at the GT1000 below.