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Most Americans will ditch live events until a Covid-19 vaccine is found – poll

Most Americans will ditch live events until a Covid-19 vaccine is found – poll
In a potential major blow to the US’ economy, arts scene and social life, a poll has found that more than half of Americans would not consider attending a live arts or sporting event before a Covid-19 vaccine is made available.

While there's been endless debate about when the various national lockdowns will end, less attention has been paid to how people will behave when they do. Optimists like UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson expect economies to “fire up,” but a new Reuters/Ipsos poll suggests some sectors will limp back to action.

The findings, taken from 4,429 American adults between April 15 and 21, show that most Americans are likely to avoid public sports and arts events until a Covid-19 vaccine has been created. With estimates for a vaccine at around 12-18 months, this news could be devastating for those industries.

The picture is clearer – and no more encouraging – when looked at by sector. Just 17 percent said they would attend professional sporting events when they reopen, with 26 percent preferring to wait for a vaccine. These figures jump to 42 percent and 39 percent for those who have been to a professional sporting event in the past year. The remaining respondents either said they “don't know” or “will never go.” What's more, 59 percent agreed that major sporting leagues should hold events behind closed doors until a vaccine is found, with just 33 percent disagreeing.

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When it comes to sharing popcorn in public, the results are just as worrying. Only 27 percent of those questioned would attend a theater, cinema or concert performance when those venues reopen, with 32 percent saying they'd wait for a vaccine. An enormous 55 percent said such events shouldn't even resume without a vaccine available.

Major sporting events and leagues in the US and around the globe have already been cancelled or postponed, with money-soaked teams having to negotiate wage deferrals and reductions with players. Even before lockdown, film studios were delaying major releases due to fears that a lack of ‘bums on seats’ would impact box office figures.

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And while the damage to the multibillion-dollar ‘big boys’ of entertainment will be significant, a widespread reluctance to visit stadiums and theaters could prove fatal for smaller and niche organizations which are vital to the arts and local communities.

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