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Consumers’ comfort visiting leisure activities falls with Covid-19 infection surge

Morning Consult has been polling Americans every two weeks on their comfort levels of engaging in different out-of-home leisure activities. For every activity tracked, the comfort level has been improving until their most recent June 23-26 poll. That poll saw a drop in comfort level for every activity and across multiple demographics. Even going out to eat at a restaurant, which has consistently shown the highest comfort level, saw a drop from 41% to 37% of people feeling comfortable doing it right now. Here’s a sample of some of the public activities and their respective comfort levels since the end of April. 

Colleen Dilenschneider polls people on their intent to visit 84 different unique cultural venues from art museums and aquariums to theaters and symphonies. Colleen tracks “intent to visit” since research shows it aligns closely with actual plans and visitation behaviors and is generally a reliable gauge of likely attendance. The polling information she collected June 27th showed a decrease in intentions to visit in states that have reopened and are experiencing significant upticks in coronavirus transmissions and are now epicenters of the US coronavirus pandemic – such as Florida, Texas, Utah, Arizona, and South Carolina.

New research on the relationship between the health threat and opening the economy I reviewed in a previous blog showed that reopening itself won’t bring back business to the old normal as long as there is a health threat and fear of the coronavirus. Colleen confirmed this relationship by saying “there is a correlation between regional increased transmission of the coronavirus and decreased intentions to visit cultural organizations in those areas.” The Morning Consult poll results show that this increased caution to visit public activities is also true for all out-of-home leisure and entertainment activities, which include location-based entertainment (LBE) of all types including family entertainment centers (FECs) and amusement parks. 

Until the Covid-19 threat of infections is seriously reduced, and probably not until there is a vaccine, can we expect any significant financial recovery for any type of location-based entertainment or cultural business.   

About Randy White

Randy White is CEO and co-founder of the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. The 31-year-old company, with offices in Kansas City, Missouri, has worked for over 600 clients in 37 countries throughout the world. Projects the company has designed and produced have won seventeen 1st place awards. Randy is considered to be one of the world's foremost authorities on feasibility, brand development, design and production of leisure experience destinations including entertainment, eatertainment, edutainment, agritainment/agritourism, play and leisure facilities.

Randy was featured on the Food Network's Unwrapped television show as an eatertainment expert, quoted as an entertainment/edutainment center expert in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times and Time magazine and received recognition for family-friendly designs by Pizza Today magazine. One of the company's projects was featured as an example of an edutainment project in the book The Experience Economy. Numerous national newspapers have interviewed him as an expert on shopping center and mall entertainment and retail-tainment.

Randy is a graduate of New York University. Prior to repositioning the company in 1989 to work exclusively in the leisure and learning industry, White Hutchinson was active in the retail/commercial real estate industry as a real estate consultancy specializing in workouts/turnarounds of commercial projects. In the late 1960s to early 1980s, Randy managed a diversified real estate development company that developed, owned and managed over 2.0 million square feet of shopping centers and mixed-use projects and 2,000 acres of residential subdivisions. Randy has held the designations of CSM (Certified Shopping Center Manager) and Certified Retail Property Executive (CRX) from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

He has authored over 150 articles that have been published in over 40 leading entertainment/leisure and early childhood education industry magazines and journals and has been a featured speaker and keynoter at over 40 different conventions and trade groups.

Randy is the editor of his company's Leisure eNewsletter, has a blog and posts on Twitter and Linkedin.

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