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Virus infections spike, comfort levels visiting public activities, including LBEs, drops

The charts below show the percent of all adults and Millennials (born 1981-1996) who said they were very or somewhat comfortable visiting different out-of-home public activities from the middle of August when the lowest percent indicated they were comfortable through the past weekend. The comfort percentages are overlaid on the 7-day rolling average of the number of U.S. coronavirus infections (in gray). 

For all adults, there was a decline in comfort as infection numbers surged. It looks like the decline in comfort started when infection numbers reached approximately the level they were back in mid-August. 

What doesn’t fit that pattern is Millennials going to museums and the movies. Despite the rising number of Covid-19 infections, their comfort levels show an increase this past week after a decline the week before. We’ll have to wait until the next poll to determine if that anomaly is a longer-term trend with that generation.

There aren’t any polls tracking the comfort of visiting community-based LBEs such as family entertainment centers (FECs), bowling centers, laser tag, etc. Polls have shown that museums are consistently rated the safest for all the different types of out-of-home entertainment and cultural venues. It is probably reasonable to assume that the comfort of visiting community-based LBEs will fall somewhere between the comfort of museums and the comfort of amusement parks. Both allow freedom of movement, which gives people more control of their social distancing versus concerts and movie theaters. Although mostly an outdoor experience, amusement parks have consistently been rated low in comfort, perhaps due to their crowding. Since we see a definite decline in comfort for visiting both of these venues, it is safe to assume there is also a decline in visiting community-based LBEs. I estimate that less than a quarter of all adults and around one-third of Millennials currently feel very or somewhat comfortable attending a community-based LBE.  

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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