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Poll: Americans Are More Ready Than Ever to Get Back to Pre-Pandemic Times

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A weekly tracking poll shows that Americans’ confidence in returning to “normal” following nearly a year of coronavirus restrictions and outbreaks is climbing, with more people seeking a return to everyday activities each week since the beginning of 2021.

The latest weekly Morning Consult “Tracking the Return to Normal” survey found that comfort with engaging in normal and leisure activities jumped from January to February by double digits in every category in which respondents were polled, and they’re now at an all-time high since the pandemic began.

After a socially reclusive year, it appears the public’s patience for the coronavirus and the restrictions it’s placed on life is slowly wearing thin — which should be putting the pro-lockdown crowd on notice.

Morning Consult found that at the end of 2020, a mere 34 percent of respondents told the pollster they felt safe going out for dinner in public. On Jan. 2, 37 percent of respondents said they felt comfortable visiting a restaurant, but by the end of February, that number had climbed to 51 percent.

Morning Consult noted that the highest percentage of people at any point in 2020 who said they would be comfortable being at a restaurant was 42 percent.

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Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they felt that they would be comfortable dining out within six months — which was a record since the pollster began asking the question last spring.

The poll noted that while comfortable, most restaurant patrons said they would prefer, for now, to eat in an outdoor setting.

With regard to traveling, respondents were asked if they would be comfortable going on vacation. The number of people who answered they would be comfortable with travel sat around 33 percent throughout much of the yearlong pandemic, but now sits at 43 percent after steadily climbing in February. At the beginning of January, only 29 percent of respondents said they would have been comfortable with going on a vacation.

Morning Consult noted similar jumps with regard to socializing in public, shopping and attending sporting events.

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Of all adults, 28 percent of respondents told Morning Consult they would feel safe attending a sporting event. That number sat at just 15 percent on Dec. 26. Of people who identified as sports fans, 35 percent said they would attend such an event.

Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans who said they would feel comfortable going to a shopping mall jumped from 32 percent in January to 46 percent in February.

When asked about feeling comfortable with regard to broadly socializing in “public spaces,” 41 percent of respondents said they felt safe doing so. Only 27 percent of respondents answered the same way in January.

Millennials were the most likely to say they felt comfortable being out in public at 48 percent — while only 32 percent of baby boomers answered the same way.

On the question of dating, men were more comfortable with going out than women by a margin of 52 percent to 35 percent — information that is not necessarily surprising.

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Since Morning Consult began asking these questions last year, the number of people reporting feeling comfortable engaging in normal activities has moved up and down. But the latest findings show that confidence about returning to normal is increasing consistently and rapidly.

More and more people each week report being ready to dine out, visit friends, date and go to movie theaters and other events.

With more vaccines being given out daily, and with millions of Americans now recovered from the coronavirus, the public’s acceptance of draconian lockdowns as a way of life seems to be subsiding.

Should governments continue to place limits on travel, movements and business occupancies, it seems it’s only a matter of time before people, broadly speaking, return themselves to normal and disregard public health mandates.

Morning Consult’s weekly tracking surveys poll 2,200 American adults and report a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points.

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Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor and a producer in radio, television and digital media. He is a proud husband and father.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.




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