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Poll: Americans want a vaccine before return to sporting events, movie theaters

Poll: Americans want a vaccine before return to sporting events, movie theaters
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Most Americans say that movie theaters, concert venues and stadiums should wait for a coronavirus vaccine, a process that could take well over a year, before reopening for attendees, according to a Reuters-Ipsos poll released Tuesday.

Fifty-five percent of respondents said events such as movies and live theater should not resume before a vaccine is available.

The survey found that only about 40 percent of Americans who regularly visited theaters, stadiums or amusement parks before the pandemic planned to do so again if they reopened before a vaccine was available, with another 40 percent saying they would be willing to wait even if it took a year or more to develop a vaccine.

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The remainder of respondents were either unsure of what they would do or indicated they might stop attending such events entirely.

An even smaller percentage of respondents said they plan on attending sporting events when they reopen to the public, with 17 percent saying they would and 26 percent saying they would wait for a vaccine.

Among respondents who attended a professional sporting event in the last year, a plurality, 42 percent, said they will return whenever venues reopen, while 39 percent said they would wait a year or longer for a vaccine, according to Reuters.

About 59 percent said professional leagues should play without in-person fans when their seasons resume until a vaccine is available.

While the NFL is currently scheduled to begin its season Sept. 10, league officials and the players’ union have reportedly been in talks about the possibility of doing so in empty stadiums. Commissioner Roger Goodell said last week he believes the season will begin as scheduled but did not offer specifics on whether that would involve in-person attendance.

“Just because people say we can go back, until people feel fully safe ... they aren’t going to go back,” Victor Matheson, a specialist in sports economics at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, told Reuters. “We go to games for entertainment, and you’re not going to be very entertained if you’re not worrying about who the next player to bat is and instead worrying about that person who just coughed two rows down.”

Reuters polled 4,429 American adults between April 15 and April 21 and says its survey has a 1.7-point confidence interval.