by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
People have increasingly resumed travel and restaurant dining, optimistic that an end to the pandemic is imminent, outpacing the federal government’s efforts to influence the country’s return to normal.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was slow off the mark with the release of safety guidelines for fully vaccinated people on Monday. The agency said that people who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine can gather safely without social distancing or mask-wearing.
The recommendations are highly conservative relative to public behavior. The agency had previously delayed publication of the guidance despite marked increases in travel and restaurant dining since vaccines first shipped out.
The Transportation Security Administration, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, recorded an average of 1,176,329 travelers per day in the week leading up to the CDC guidance out Monday. Airline executives have used climbing travel numbers as a good indicator that the airline industry is on the rebound. …
… An increasing number of people have also reported going out to eat, to visit family and friends, and to visit non-grocery retail stores, according to a new Ipsos- Axios poll. The polling results also show that people are increasingly optimistic that the end to the pandemic is in sight. Forty percent of people expected to be back to their “pre-COVID life” within the next six months, up from 26% in January.
“Travelers move fast when they see positive news and optics that permit travel,” said Clayton Reid, chief executive of travel marketing firm MMGY Global. …
… The steady rise in the rates of travel, dining, and other activities outside of the home signals a broad change in people’s behavior about social distancing regardless of their vaccination status. They also indicate that people are not willing to wait for the federal government to deliver its recommendations.