A new study shows arts patrons are more likely to be vaccinated than the general public and are increasingly comfortable returning to cultural events, though a “significant minority” are still not ready.
Cultural venues across central Illinois—from concert halls to museums to art galleries—are making decisions now about reopening and what the experience will be like for patrons. The Audience Outlook Monitor, based on a survey of patrons from around 400 cultural organizations around the world, offers some data-driven insight into what they should expect.
First, the good news.
“It’s amazing how quickly arts audiences got vaccinated,” said Alan Brown, principal at WolfBrown, who oversees the survey. “As of mid-May, our data suggests 95% or more of arts audiences are already vaccinated, which is much higher than the general population.”
“So that allows us to entertain the thought that going to the theater is much safer than going to the grocery store or to the gas station,” he said.
But as of late May, about 40% of vaccinated people in the survey are not yet ready to go out again. That varies city to city. New Yorkers are more ready than those in San Francisco, for example. About 51% of respondents in the Chicago cohort said they were ready now, or soon as it’s permitted, as of mid-May. That’s up from 29% in mid-March.
“A substantial minority are still not ready,” said Brown. “And so we’re doing what we can to take the pulse of people and find out what their concerns and whether those concerns will just melt away over the next few months, or whether they’ll persist.”
One stubborn data point is that 35% of U.S. survey respondents believe someone in their household is vulnerable to a serious health outcome if they contract COVID-19. That was 47% a year ago and hasn’t dropped significantly even as vaccinations rose sharply.
That suggests vaccinated people are concerned about breakthrough infections, or that their immunity might ebb and flow and they may need a booster shot at some point, Brown said…
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