Was it the Labor Day weekend (and threat of spread)? Maybe it’s kids going back to schools, universities, and daycares that did it. At any rate, the percentage of Americans concerned about being in public spaces started to rebound again in the latest week of data. Specifically, it’s those who are ‘somewhat concerned’ that increased, swapping places with those ‘not at all concerned.’

For the third week in a row, about 2-in-5 adults expect social distancing practices to last more than 6 months.

The slight backslide is more evident in the questions CivicScience tracks looking at comfort in returning to normal activities. Whatever ‘normal’ means, right? We observed a slight decrease in people’s comfort returning to several normal activities, including going out to eat at restaurants, traveling, attending a major public event, and returning to work.

Most notable is travel which appeared to rebound in prior weeks.

Comfort traveling now, in under 2-3 weeks, has decreased from 36% last week to 29% this week.

But also dipping is comfortability with going to a public event.

Like with travel, comfort attending a major public event right now has decreased this week (from 28% to 21%).

Comfort with dining out right now decreased this week, too, but only slightly (from 46% to 43%). It will be important to follow, as it had appeared to be on an upward trajectory until now.

As a result, slightly fewer people (33%) plan to dine in at a restaurant in the next week, but this remains notably higher than in July and early August. One new study came out this week from the CDC that found adults with confirmed COVID-19 were about twice as likely as other study participants to say they dined out at a restaurant in the 14 days before becoming sick. Though the study may not become common household knowledge, it will be important to track if people change their actual dining out habits as a result.

Comfort going back to the workplace has also gone down since last week but still remains higher than July and August readings.

Ah, the Economy

One thing remains certain for now though, or at least optimistic: we’re seeing the most positive results observed since the pandemic began when it comes to people’s expectations about finding a job over the next 6 months and about making a major purchase right now. 

When it comes to consumers’ ability to find a new job over the next 6 months, they’re feeling the most optimistic we’ve seen since the pandemic began.

As of this week, the highest percentage of adults since the pandemic began (35%) say now is a good time to make a major purchase.

Overall, Americans may be backpedaling just a bit in their comfort venturing out, and time will tell if consumer’s ‘things can only get better from here’ attitude about the economy, will continue. As two weeks after Labor Day will start to tell us if a spike in cases from the holiday happened or not, we’re sure to see a correlation either way in our numbers. Check back next Monday for the most up to date report.