Over 2,000 Americans told us how COVID-19 has made them rethink the spaces they enter.

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Few were so acutely aware of the ways buildings impact our health before COVID-19.

This study examines how the pandemic changes Americans’ decisions about using public spaces—and how business sanitation and air quality will impact consumer choice. We found that many respondents plan to visit stadiums and arenas, hotels, airplanes, restaurants, gyms and public transit centers less often.

But it’s not all bad news. We also found that air quality, surface disinfection and indoor air filtration drive consumer decisions on where to work, shop and visit. Eighty-six percent of those surveyed said that sanitation and air quality were important factors in those decisions.

Facility owners and managers can influence consumer choices on where to visit by rebuilding their confidence in public spaces.

We surveyed 2,000+ consumers about 12 public spaces and activities.

Facility owners and managers can influence consumer choices on where to visit by rebuilding their confidence in public spaces.

1. Restoring Confidence in Public Spaces

We know that people don’t feel safe in public. So we asked more than 2,000 what it would take to make them feel safer. Their answer was clear.

Clean Air and Surfaces Matter to Americans

People across the country are becoming more optimistic about the future post-pandemic, but they remain fearful about returning to many everyday activities. Cleaner indoor air and sanitary surfaces are two things consumers feel are important factors in the places to which they choose to return.

Learn more about how businesses can restore consumer confidence.

We asked people which mitigation tactics are important to them.

said Disinfected Surfaces
said Sanitation and Air Quality
said Social Distancing
said Indoor Air Quality
said Monitoring Entrances

2. Threatened Business Models

The perceived risk of catching COVID-19 is higher in some places than others. Restaurants, stadiums, transportation and retail could be most affected.


The perceived risk of catching COVID-19 is higher in some places than others. Restaurants, stadiums, transportation and retail could be most affected.

Restaurants, bars and clubs stand to lose $113,332 annually as diners change how often they go out. The decline is concentrated in weekly diners, which is where most restaurants earn most of their revenue. However, it’s possible that some of those who plan to go less frequently can be persuaded to go more often with the right safety measures.

2.1 Restaurants, Bars and Clubs


Expect a 12% decrease in people who go to arenas or stadiums at all in the next six months.

Of all spaces surveyed, stadiums and arenas will see the largest drop in consumer confidence. This decline will affect more than just gate revenues; it will extend into merchandising, concessions, sales at bars and restaurants near the venue, shared rides and other ancillary services tied to these locations.

2.2 Stadiums and Arenas

Public transportation will see changes in how often people plan to ride, with daily and weekly usage dropping. While many who use public transportation do so out of necessity, they will begin to seek alternatives that will allow them to cut back, with a small percentage increase in those saying they will never use it.


17% decline in daily use
14% decline in weekly use
5% increase in those who will not use
2.3 Public Transportation


Airlines will see a 7% drop in passengers. Respondents projected a corresponding 16% increase in long-distance car travel.

Air travel will decline as consumers choose to take their own personal vehicles for longer trips. With more long distance car trips, businesses that service these consumers (gas stations, convenience stores, rest stops) will need to be prepared for a potential increase in customers.

2.4 Air Travel


Weekly visits will drop by 24% as customers shop less frequently.

Customers of brick-and-mortar stores plan to go less often, but not totally abandon in-store shopping. We know that consumers value clean air and surfaces in these spaces, so it will be essential for businesses to emphasize a message of health and safety.

2.5 Brick-and-Mortar Stores

3. Resilient Industries

Not all industries will be so heavily impacted. In fact, salons, barbershops, schools and universities may see more visitors than before as lockdown lifts.

Salons, spas and barbershops are the most resilient spaces tested here, and consumers plan to continue going as often as they did before. Specialty services like haircare and beauty treatments are not easily replaced, and many of these establishments already employ best practices when it comes to cleanliness and sanitation.


93% of employees think sanitation and air quality are important.
84% say that indoor air filtration matters.
77% believe salons and spas should disinfect surfaces.
3.1 Salons, Spas and Barbershops


Schools and universities will see an 8% increase in visits over the next 6 months.

Schools and universities are a bright spot in the post-COVID landscape as consumers are optimistic about returning to educational facilities in the next six months. However, this increase in the number of visitors could pose problems of its own if health and safety aren’t proactively addressed.

3.2 Education

4. Spaces in Between

Some industries don’t face the same immediate threat as many—or the projected growth of others. Healthier spaces could change that.


Healthcare facilities face a 5% increase in those who plan not to visit in the next six months.

Hospitals and urgent care centers stand to keep the patients who need their services most, but many individuals faced with minor illness or elective surgery will opt out of physical treatment. Unless hospitals can restore consumer confidence, many Americans may continue to feel that it’s riskier to receive treatment than to skip it.

4.1 Healthcare Facilities


19% fewer people are planning several hotel stays over the next year.

Hotels and motels will retain their most frequent visitors, like business travelers and consultants: the small number who stay weekly reported they’ll continue to do so. But many discretionary guests won’t. Industries connected to hospitality, like conferences and events, will also feel the effects of this drop.

4.2 Hotels and Motels


While they may retain members, gyms will see a 12% drop in daily visitors.

Gyms and fitness facilities are in a position to have fewer customers in six months, but they do not face the same drop in revenue as other businesses. The largest change will be frequency of visits, but because many gyms rely on memberships, this shouldn’t greatly impact the bottom line.

4.3 Gyms and Fitness Facilities

5. The Employer’s Role and Responsibility

Across industries and demographics, few responses were so consistent. From office staff to factory workers, Americans believe employers should protect employee health.

It’s not just customers who expect healthy spaces.

Consumers feel strongly that businesses must take responsibility for the health of their employees. 84% of respondents believe that employers are responsible for monitoring and supporting employee health. This means that as employees return to their workplaces and operations return to normal levels, they will be looking for measurable changes that promote their health and wellbeing.

This belief holds strong across a range of industries.

Retail Workers
Office Employees
Food Service
Factory Workers

If you’ve made it this far, you should probably read the full report. Download now for an in-depth look at consumer confidence in public spaces.

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