According to a survey on May 22-24 of 1,004 US Consumers, 63% of consumers believe businesses should reopen, which is a considerable change to a month prior when consumers were surveyed and 66% believed businesses should stay closed. [i]
With the stay at home orders continuing since the beginning of March totaling almost 5 months of quarantining, Americans are getting antsy. Now on the back end of Summer vacation, what should we expect in the fall? Will sports continue to come back? What will mark the passing of time anymore? Thankfully neighborhood pools opened, along with some shopping centers and entertainment spots with outdoor shopping and dining were able to open as long as they stayed socially distanced. However, along with these openings, numbers have begun to spike. 67% of US consumers will feel comfortable returning to a physical store within two months of the pandemic subsiding, with 64% to an open-air center, and 55% to a restaurant and 51% to personal services like the spa or a salon. [i]
For entertainment facilities like Disneyland, California state officials are reviewing how and when to reopen. “Theme parks are not permitted to open in California at this time, under current public health orders,” California Health and Human Services spokesperson Kate Folmar said via email. “We will continue to review health data to determine when and how theme parks may consider reopening at lower risk to staff and visitors.” [ii] Plans to reopen Disneyland in July were put on hold and can reopen during Stage 3 of the state’s four stage roadmap for reopening California’s economy.
Back in July, businesses were forced to shut down again due to the second wave of COVID-19. For example, in California dine in service at restaurants has been suspended, while bars, movie theaters, zoos and museums have been closed in 19 counties making up 70% of the state. [iii] In Texas and Florida, bars have been shut down and in Arizona, bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks have all been forced to close down. Georgia specifically is experiencing a vastly high number of coronavirus cases after Governor Kemp allowed restaurants to reopen on April 27, which the World Health Organization is saying is a consequence of reopening businesses too early. [iv]
“…a Chase analyst released a chart showing the correlation between restaurant spending and new cases. The analyst, Jesse Edgerton, compared the spending data from 30 million Chase credit and debit cardholders against a coronavirus case tracker from John Hopkins University and found that restaurant spending was the strongest predictor of a rise in infections.” [iv]
Although there are mixed feelings on businesses reopening, the general consensus is that consumers are ready to get back out and be social again, with the lingering guilt of knowing the repercussions of making that happen. It is still highly unknown how this virus works, how it spreads, how long you’re contagious, how easy/hard it is to get the virus, how long you should quarantine, the list goes on and on. So what does that mean for consumers? Business owners? The best thing to do at this point is to listen to the experts, do your research, find ways to stay sane while staying home as much as possible. Get outside, go on walks, stay far away from other people, but keep hope. Keep hope that there’s an end in sight where we will eventually be able to get back to a “new normal” way of living.