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How vital are mask mandates for location-based leisure venues?

As reported by Colleen Dilenschneider in her most recent enewsletter, research by IMPACTS Experience found that mandatory face-covering requirements are still very important to make people feel safe and comfortable going to cultural institutions. They surveyed 3,117 U.S. adults on what will make them feel safe visiting exhibit-based organizations (museums, zoos, aquariums, science centers, historic sites, botanical gardens, etc.) and 1,775 adults about performance-based venues (theaters, symphonies, ballets, etc.).


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The results clearly show that masks are still very important. Nearly 80% of adults say mandatory face coverings will make them feel safer, regardless of the type of venue.

IMPACTS also surveyed adults by regions of the country on April 17th on “How essential is requiring mandatory face coverings for all staff members, volunteers, and guests to your decision to visit an organization?” Nationally, people who plan to attend a cultural venue say that mandatory masks are essential at a value of 7.9 on a 10.0 scale. It varied from a low of 6.8 in GA+FL+SC to a high of 8.6 in CT+NJ+NY and has gone up in all regions of the country since IMPACTS’ June 28th, 2020 survey.

IMPACTS concluded, “On the whole, people who plan to visit any cultural organization in the next three months consider face coverings as essential to their safety. . . Not requiring masks makes a meaningful number of people in every region uncomfortable. And here’s the kicker: research suggests that not requiring masks will have a much greater negative impact on attendance than requiring them for the vast majority of organizations.”

Of course, these results were only for cultural venues. But there’s no reason to believe that they don’t also apply to entertainment-oriented venues.

The April 25th Morning Consult poll found that most people are still uncomfortable going to cultural and entertainment venues. It varies from a low of only one-third of people comfortable going to a concert (32%) to a high of nearly one-half comfortable visiting a museum (48%).

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The above results were consistent with the April 28th CivicScience poll that found that only 40% of adults are currently comfortable going to a movie and only 36% going to a major public event,

For location-based leisure destinations to grow their attendances out of pandemic lows, it is essential to make people feel as safe and comfortable as possible. The IMPACTS’ results indicate that mandatory masks are essential to accomplish that.

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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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