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States begin to see a return of retail and recreation business as COVID cases continue to fall.

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Amy Antenora has been reporting on the automotive aftermarket since 2002.

Recent signs suggest that the U.S. has turned a corner in the fight against COVID-19 as daily case numbers are down nearly 80% from peak levels, and vaccines are now available to all adults nationwide. As a result, many state and local governments are responding by loosening or entirely lifting restrictions that have hampered businesses across the country. Using up-to-date mobility data focused on retail and recreation visits, transit visits and workplace visits, researchers identified the states that have been opening up the fastest for business. 

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This is all good news for the economy. Survey results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that more than half of U.S. businesses experienced reduced consumer demand as a result of the pandemic, leading to job losses and lost income. But as the COVID situation improves and restrictions are rolled back, policymakers and business owners are optimistic that economic activity will return to pre-pandemic levels this summer. 

According to community mobility data that Google has collected during the pandemic, visits to retail and recreation establishments, transit stations and workplaces (strong indicators of overall business activity) are still below their baseline levels from early 2020 but are moving in the right direction. Retail and recreation establishments are showing particularly positive trends, nearly returning to their baseline levels this spring with the drop in COVID cases and increase in vaccinations. 

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To identify the states that have reopened most quickly, Filterbuy researchers used data from Google’s COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports to create a composite index based on April 2021 visits to retail and recreation, transit and workplace establishments. Filterbuy’s research team calculated the percentage change in visits to such establishments compared to a pre-pandemic baseline period of Jan. 3 to Feb. 6, 2020. 

To learn more on the status of business reopening in all 50 states, go to: https://filterbuy.com/resources/states-that-have-started-reopening.

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