: Life after the COVID-19 vaccine: Americans won’t rush back to restaurants and ballgames — or public transportation

United States

The pandemic has upended most people’s 9-to-5 existence.

Most have stopped commuting to offices, aren’t dining out and watch their favorite sports teams play exclusively on TV screens. 

Those pandemic habits aren’t going to disappear once people receive a coronavirus vaccine, according to a new survey.

Some 64% of Americans indicated that they would spend the same amount on groceries after a vaccine is widely available as they’re spending now, according to a Nielsen NLSN, -2.74% survey of more than 11,000 respondents from 15 countries, including the U.S. 

While 21% of Americans said they’ll spend more on groceries, 15% said they’d spend less. That’s contrary to Wall Street analysts who predict there will be a significant decline in grocery spending in the upcoming years.

Nearly one-quarter of people (24%) say they’ll spend more dining out once a vaccine is widely available, but roughly the same proportion (22%) said they’ll spend less eating out. 

This survey suggests a slower-than-expected return to normalcy and economic recovery from the pandemic.

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“Confidence levels around the vaccines, and the desire to take the vaccines, certainly may change as countries begin more concerted rollouts and deliver education campaigns around the vaccines,” said Scott McKenzie, global intelligence leader at Nielsen. 

But, he added, even broad access to vaccinations “won’t automatically flip a switch to put the world back on its pre-COVID path.”

Another sign that people will not return to their previous lives as soon as they have received the vaccine: Only 40% of Americans said they’d feel comfortable using public transportation once they’re vaccinated. That’s potentially troubling for business owners in cities that are counting on commuters to return to their offices, analysts say.

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