Many communities here in the U.S. seem to be reopening at an astonishing rate compared to the slower pace just a couple months back. It is hard to discern whether political pressures advocating for reopening the economy are prevailing or whether the effective deployment of vaccinations is the root cause. Like most circumstances, I tend to think it is a combination of both. I heard a national community health expert in passing on the news earlier this week who was asked whether she expects things to return to normal. Without hesitations her response was “Yes, that is why we are working to get everyone vaccinated. It’s the purpose of vaccination, but don’t think of reopening as an on/off switch but rather a dial.”
IDA members in 23 communities have participated in a third consumer confidence study which is yielding supportive results in the U.S. preliminary update. Of the more than 4500 people, 84% have received one or both COVID-19 shots, are overwhelming in favor of resuming outdoor events at full capacity (26%) or at limited capacity with safety protocols enforced (59%). In total, 79% of all respondents reported they would likely attend if safety protocols were in place. Pent up demand for getting out is significant with 84% of respondents expecting to travel this summer but still favoring automobile transportation. Our challenge will in getting people to return to downtown and our community main streets!