A new poll shows that the majority of Americans are concerned about going back to large public gatherings — concerts, movie theaters, sporting events and theme parks — before a vaccine for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is available.

Fewer than half of those surveyed, in fact, including those who were recently at such events and locations, plan to return until then.

The poll, from the news organization Reuters and Ipsos, a market research company, surveyed 4,429 American adults between April 15 and April 21. Those surveyed were asked about their previous attendance habits at sporting events, movie theaters, concert venues and theme parks, and about their interest in going back to those places if they were re-opened before a coronavirus vaccine is available, noting that the wait for a vaccine could be more than a year.

When it comes to movie theaters, concerts and live theater performances, 32 percent of people said they would wait for a vaccine before going back, and 55 percent of people said those events should not resume until a vaccine is available. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they'd go back as soon as venues re-open.

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“It would be a bit reckless for us to go," says Ana Morales of Bristow, Va., noting that she would be worried about spreading the disease, and would be concerned about venue cleanliness.

When it comes to professional sporting events, 42 percent of those who have attended an event within the past year and 17 percent of the overall survey group said they would return as soon as events are re-opened to the public, while 39 percent of recent sporting event attendees and 26 percent of the group overall said they would wait for a vaccine. Fifty-nine percent of sports fans said professional sports leagues should play games without fans in attendance until a vaccine is available; thirty-three percent of that group disagreed.

As for amusement parks, 20 percent of respondents said they would visit a theme park once they're re-opened. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said parks should not re-open until a vaccine is available.

In total, about four out of 10 respondents said they would partake in a large public gathering if they were able to before a vaccine was available, while the same percentage said they are willing to wait for a vaccine. The rest of the pool, two out of 10, either did not know what they would do or might never attend another one of those events.

This latest survey is in line with previous inquiries into how the coronavirus pandemic will affect concerts and other large live events. Another recent poll of 1,000 United States consumers found that after the pandemic, one-third of respondents say they'll attend shows at indoor concert venues less often than before. Fifty-six percent of participants, meanwhile, say it will take them between "a few months" and "possibly never" to go to a major indoor concert venue again after they've been declared safe.

Fans may have quite some time to come to terms with or overcome their fears about attending large public events, at least if one expert's opinion is correct. Zeke Emanuel, vice provost of global initiatives and the director of the Healthcare Transformation Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, has made headlines recently with his prediction that concerts and other major events won't return until "Fall 2021 at the earliest."

“Larger gatherings — conferences, concerts, sporting events — when people say they’re going to reschedule this conference or graduation event for October 2020, I have no idea how they think that’s a plausible possibility," Emmanuel cautions. "I think those things will be the last to return."

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