Apr 21, 2020 - Economy & Business

What's next for movie theaters as some states eye coronavirus reopening

Data: Morning Consult; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

President Trump's latest guidelines for "Opening Up America Again" may be too optimistic for things like movie theaters and concerts, analysts predict.

Driving the news: Georgia’s governor said yesterday that the state will reopen theaters on April 27, granted that they take strict social distancing and safety precautions.

  • But at this point, it's unclear whether any of the major theater chains will actually reopen by next week.

Yes, but: Even if distressed theater chains, concert venues, ticketing platforms and politicians are eager for out-of-home entertainment to re-open, surveys show that consumer sentiment around attending leisure events is still largely behind the federal government's plans to open up.

  • And at this point, so many theater chains have laid off or furloughed employees that it will be almost impossible for them to quickly get back up and running again without reassessing their workforces and finances.

By the numbers: According to a new Morning Consult survey, about a third of U.S. adults say they won't be comfortable going to out of home entertainment for another 3-6 months, and about a quarter say they wouldn't go for at least another six months.

  • According to Trump's plan, large venues, such as movie theaters and sporting venues may begin to open up in the next few months during "stage one" of the three-phased plan, so long as they operate under strict physical distancing protocols.

The bottom line: Analysts say that they expect theater chains to take extra precautions upon opening, including additional cleaning and distancing measures, but even with those efforts, consumers will still have doubts until there's a vaccine.

  • "[I]t’s hard to envision people returning with the same vigor that they showed in the past, and it’s likely that at best, box office would be a fraction of what it was prior to the pandemic," says Michael Pachter, a research analyst at Wedbush Securities 
  • "Once there is a vaccine, things will likely return to a semblance of normal over time, but if there is a genuine risk of contracting the virus by attending a theater, it’s hard to see how many people will feel comfortable doing so."

Go deeper ... Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Week 6: Too soon for "normal" reopening

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Updated 4 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Infectious disease experts doubt that the coronavirus will slow its spread during the summer, National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins wrote in a Tuesday blog post.

By the numbers: More than 105,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus and over 1.8 million people have tested positive, per data from Johns Hopkins. More than 458,000 Americans have recovered and over 17.3 million tests have been conducted.

Jun 1, 2020 - Health

Lessons from the lockdown — and what comes next

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

We are nowhere near finished with the coronavirus, but the next phases of our response will — if we do it right — be more targeted and risk-based than the sweeping national lockdown we’re now emerging from.

Why it matters: Our experience battling this new virus has taught us a lot about what does and doesn’t work. We’ll have to apply those lessons rigorously, and keep adapting, if we have any hope of containing the virus and limiting the number of deaths from here on out.

Jun 1, 2020 - Health

Fauci: "My meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased"

Anthony Fauci with President Trump on May 15. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with Stat News that his meetings with President Trump about the coronavirus have "dramatically decreased."

The big picture: Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease doctor and a key member of the White House's coronavirus task force, said he "was meeting with [the president] four times a week back, a month or so ago."