After a month of increasing anxiety and self-isolation from the coronavirus pandemic, a new study has shown that U.S. audiences are largely unwilling to return to public events once the crisis has subsided.
In a survey of 1,000 consumers in the United States, 44% of respondents said they would attend smaller public events even if they were approved by the CDC. 38% said they would visit approximately the same number, and 18% said they would attend more. And 47% agreed that the idea of going to a major public event “would scare me for a long time”.
The study was published by Performance Research, a research company for sports and events, in collaboration with Full Circle Research Co.
The news for cinemas was particularly gloomy: 49% of respondents said it would take “a few months̵
Major indoor concert venues, indoor sports venues and – of great interest to the Walt Disney Company – theme parks seem to be most affected by the pandemic. 56%, 51% and 50% of respondents said they were anywhere from “a few months” to “may never” so that they could return, even after they were found safe. A third of respondents said they would be less likely to visit indoor sports venues and concert halls after the Covid 19 epidemic subsided.
Outdoor parks and beaches, outdoor sports facilities, zoos and aquariums appear to be the least affected. 64%, 56% and 55% of the respondents indicated that they would return immediately or within a few weeks.
Even for those who say they’ll be returning to public venues, the opportunity to catch a pathogen will be paramount: two-thirds of respondents said their concern about the cleanliness and hygiene of venues and toilets will be higher than before the pandemic; 65% expressed concern about the cleanliness of the catering areas; and 59% said they were concerned about the crowd and their general closeness to strangers.
However, the news isn’t too bad: 46% said they value public events more than before, and 53% said that after the pandemic ended, they wanted to attend the events I love.
A large majority of respondents – 66% – said that the decision by large sports organizations to suspend public events was “about right”.
The 3% error rate study was conducted by consumers in the Full Circle Research Panel who were interviewed between March 23 and 26 – when the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the US almost doubled from 43,667 to 83,836 . The number of confirmed US cases is currently over 184,000 on Tuesday afternoon.
Todd Spangler contributed to this report.