States are taking differing approaches to reopening and closing during the pandemic, and the economy has been feeling the impact. More than half of the states have instituted statewide mask mandates to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Some state and local jurisdictions have capped bar hours to limit large groups gathering. Schools are in the limelight as fall plans roll out and the first days for most of the country get closer.
These five charts illustrate trends in important industries that help track reopening progress in the U.S.
Driving and walking directions from Apple‘s navigation system, Maps, have continued to show little movement since the beginning of July. Requests for both are also still well above pre-pandemic levels, as they have been for most of the pandemic. Walking and driving requests match pandemic highs seen earlier in the summer. Transit direction requests have remained stagnant as well, at about 50% lower than on Jan. 13,. Transit direction requests have been unchanging for most of the summer.
Despite some daily variation, U.S. restaurant bookings have remained at nearly 60% less than last year, data from the booking app OpenTable shows. The low bookings reflect continued uncertainty around eating and going out, which has been heightened with public officials expressing concern over the role of bars in spreading the coronavirus. The continued steady uncertainty also shows that while most places allow some form of eating in restaurants, the public does not feel as inclined to go to a restaurant as in previous years.
National hotel occupancy sits at just below 50%, up 1% from a week ago, according to data from the global hospitality research company STR. Comparatively, U.S. occupancy in July 2019 was at 73.8%. The average daily cost for a hotel room continued the trend of rising by about $1 each week, now at just over $100. Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Virginia remained a top travel market – and the only to reach 60% capacity – as it has been for most of the summer. Detroit has stayed at over 50% capacity for another week after having previously experienced capacity below 30%, with San Diego and Philadelphia joining the list of cities reporting hotels filled to more than half capacity. Oahu Island and New Orleans both saw capacity below 30%.
The number of passengers traveling through airport security checkpoints is still anywhere between 20% and 30% of what it was last year, data from the Transportation Security Administration shows. Although there were some signs of life in early July with some days nearing 40% of the same days last year, numbers have continued to sit down at about a fourth of prior years. Some airlines have slimmed their offerings in response to international travel restrictions and spikes in coronavirus infection rates, with airline leaders saying they aren’t expecting a recovery until a vaccine is available. The low number of passengers reflects, and is largely driving, the continued financial turbulence the industry is facing.
U.S. home purchases have sat at a 20% increase year over year for another week, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. However, mortgage applications were down 5.1%. Leaders in the industry say the uncertainty reflects a lack of stability in jobs and the economy due to the pandemic. They expect this level of interest to stay relatively unchanging for the foreseeable future.