As states prepare to lift COVID-19 restrictions, a new poll indicates the majority of Americans will avoid large-crowd events until a vaccine is available.
The Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll, conducted from April 15 to 21, surveyed 4,429 adults about their interest in attending concerts, movie theaters, amusement parks, and sporting events before a vaccine was developed. Fifty-five percent of participants said movie theater screenings and live concerts should not resume until a vaccine was available. About 40 percent of respondents who regularly go to arts and entertainment venues said they would do so again even before they get vaccinated. Another 40 percent claimed they were willing to wait for a vaccine, even it took over a year to develop. The remaining 30 percent told pollsters they didn't know if they would or may never attend those kinds of events again.
When it came to live sporting events, only 17 percent of those polled said they would attend the games without a vaccine; 26 percent said they would wait. Among the respondents who attended a professional sporting event in the past year, approximately 42 percent said they would go to a live game as soon as the stadiums and arenas open; however, 39 percent said they were willing to wait more than year for a vaccine before attending. Fifty-nine percent also said professional leagues should conduct games without spectators if a vaccine isn't developed during their seasons.
According to Reuters, respondents were also informed a COVID-19 vaccine could take up to a year before its available to the public.
"Just because people say we can go back, until people feel fully safe ... they aren’t going to go back," said Victor Matheson, a specialist in sports economics at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts. "We go to games for entertainment and you’re not going to be very entertained if you’re not worrying about who the next player to bat is and instead worrying about that person who just coughed two rows down."