According to a new report from Filterbuy looking at the U.S. states that have started opening up for business, Virginia is opening 11th slowest for businesses. After more than a year of living through the pandemic, most of the signs lately suggest that the U.S. has turned the corner in the fight against COVID-19. Average daily case numbers nationwide have fallen by around 80% from their peak in the U.S., from more than 250,000 per day in early January to just under 50,000 per day in early May. More states and local governments are responding to these encouraging developments by loosening or entirely lifting restrictions that have been kept in place to minimize the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic.
This is all good news for the economy. Survey results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that more than half of U.S. businesses experienced reduced consumer demand as a result of the pandemic, leading to job losses and lost income. But as the COVID situation improves and restrictions are rolled back, policymakers and business owners are optimistic that economic activity will return to pre-pandemic levels this summer.
One of the major reasons why states have reopened at different rates is that public attitudes toward COVID-19 became highly politicized throughout the contentious 2020 election cycle and beyond. This has affected both individuals’ behaviors and governments’ approach to public health restrictions: in general, more politically conservative areas have moved more quickly toward reopening and their politically liberal counterparts have shown more caution. Many of these more conservative states are also more rural and less densely populated, factors which also lower some of the perceived risks associated with COVID-19.
The analysis found that compared to the pre-pandemic baseline period, Virginia experienced a 9.6% decrease in retail and recreation visits and a 21.9% decrease in visits to transit stations in April of 2021. Looking at mobility data for all U.S. states, Virginia is opening 11th slowest for business.
Links to the report, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Filterbuy’s website: https://filterbuy.com/resources/states-that-have-started-reopening/