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Survey: More Consumers Ready to Dine and Shop, Travel? Not So Fast

SBB Research Group releases new results from its series of national surveys on the personal, economic and societal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

As the White House, CDC, and state governments issue guidance for reopening the economy, Americans are still very selective about the activities they are willing to partake in and the precautions necessary to do so. A majority of consumers remain cautious about many activities, such as traveling by plane or attending sporting events, but are much more willing to visit a retail store or dine at a restaurant, according to national survey results released  by SBB Research Group. The Chicago-area company, which analyzes a wide variety of data to enhance its investment strategies, released initial results from this COVID-19 survey series on March 31, 2020.

Consumers More Willing to Visit Stores and Restaurants; Still Reluctant to Travel

Significant proportions of surveyed consumers said they were willing to shop  at a retail store (63 percent) or dine at a restaurant (41 percent) “as soon as possible” or “within one month,” while a smaller proportion was ready to visit a hair salon (36 percent).

However, most Americans say they are still not comfortable flying on an airplane, staying in a hotel, attending sporting events, or seeing movies in theaters. When asked how soon they would be willing to do so again, many responded that they expected to continue avoiding these activities for at least the next six months. About 60 percent of consumers would not be willing to travel by plane for the rest of 2020, and more than a quarter do not expect to fly for a year or longer. 

Top Three Safety Precautions for Restaurants

Restaurants are implementing numerous health and safety practices, and the survey data revealed the top three precautions valued by consumers:

  1. Limiting the number of guests in the restaurant

  2. Requiring employees to wear protective gear (e.g., masks, gloves)

  3. Separating tables by at least six feet

These three practices were identified as “the most important” by over three quarters of respondents. Additional precautions that were mentioned included offering disposable menus, requiring guests to wear face masks, touchless payment technologies, and other safety measures.

Medical Screenings for Public Gatherings?

Two-thirds of Americans are now willing to undergo a medical screening prior to entering a public gathering, and the majority would not attend such an event unless all attendees were screened.

Views on the necessity of medical screenings at events varied significantly by political party identification. Respondents were asked if they would be willing to attend a public gathering without any medical screening as long as social distancing was being practiced; more than half of Republicans (57 percent) agreed with this statement, but only 16 percent of Democrats and 24 percent of Independents were willing to do so.

For more details about these findings, other COVID-19 survey results, and future updates from this research series, please visit

Survey Methodology

Results for consumers’ willingness to engage in various activities were based on surveys of 231 respondents between June 12, 2020 and June 15, 2020. The most important safety precautions were observed in surveys of 279 respondents between May 22, 2020 and May 25, 2020. Opinions about medical screenings were based on surveys of 228 respondents (114 Democrats, 51 Republicans, 63 Independents) between June 12, 2020 and June 15, 2020. All surveys were conducted online by respondents in the United States, and certain analyses were based on subsets of the survey population only. Additional details about the survey methods and their limitations are available at

About SBB Research Group

Founded in 2010, SBB Research Group is an innovative Chicago-area investment management firm. Founder and CEO Sam Barnett, PhD, is an applied mathematician and neuroscientist specializing in quantitative predictions of complex systems, and COO and CCO Matt Aven provides expertise in economics and computer science. They lead an interdisciplinary team of researchers continually striving to optimize the protection and growth of investor capital. The company specializes in creating bespoke funds seeking both stability and long-term results through a systematic investment approach.

This post first appeared on Globe Newswire and is also available on Business Insider, Yahoo! Finance, and Benzinga.


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