Responses gathered in February 2021 by the Culture Restart Audience & Visitor Tracker from the Insights Alliance (Indigo Ltd, Baker Richards and One Further) show that:
- With 41% of respondents having received at least one vaccine dose, confidence returning to cultural venues has increased – 56% of respondents say they would consider returning with appropriate safety and hygiene measures in place
- The largest increase in confidence is among the over 65s, with 52% saying they would consider returning with safety measures in place compared to 29% in January – a relative increase of 79%
- There has been a small increase of respondents who have made bookings for future events and, of those respondents who haven’t yet booked, nearly a quarter said they will now be ready to book within 3 months compared to 15% in January
- The proportion of respondents who said socially distanced seating would be essential to their return has slightly decreased from 51% to 40% but the majority still answered ‘I’m OK with this’
- The majority of cultural audiences are still uncomfortable about the idea of returning with no restrictions subject to Covid testing on arrival – and two thirds say they were OK with a vaccine passport being required to attend live events
Confidence returning to cultural venues increases – particular among over 65s
With 41% of respondents having received at least the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, there has been a significant growth in confidence about returning to cultural venues.
When asked which of a selection of statements best fits how respondents are feeling about returning to cultural venues, 56% of respondents in February said they would consider returning as soon as venues reopen if they were satisfied with the safety and hygiene measures in place. This is compared to 40% of respondents January.
Particularly clear is the increase in confidence of those aged over 65. In January only 29% said they would consider returning with safety measures in place – this figure is 52% for February.
The proportion of respondents who said they couldn’t envisage attending until the vaccination programme was more established has dropped from 34% in January to 18% in February.
Increase in future bookings and willingness to book within 3 months
47% of respondents have now made bookings for events in the future, a modest relative increase of 7% compared to January.
However, there has been a positive shift in the reasons given for not having booked, with more respondents saying they preferred to stay flexible and book nearer the time (46% in February compared to 42% in January). The proportion who selected Covid-related reasons – such as avoiding crowds and reluctance to travel – has slightly decreased.
Of those who haven’t yet booked, 24% said they would be ready to book in the next 3 months, up from 15% in January, and those not willing to book for more than 6 months has decreased from 20% to 14%.
Renewed trust in cultural venues
Responses in February showed renewed confidence in cultural venues and the measures they would have in place to keep audiences safe.
When asked how confident respondents felt that cultural venues would have appropriate measures in place, the responses in February showed an increase in each category compared to January.
Returning with restrictions in place
There was a drop in proportion of respondents needing particular measures or restrictions to be in place in order to return.
While the majority of audiences responded ‘I’m OK with this’ to a requirement for face masks to be worn throughout the venue, in January 44% of respondents said this would be essential to their return – this has decreased to 34% in February. Similarly, socially distanced seating being essential to return has dropped from 51% to 40%, although 55% of respondents still said ‘I’m OK with this’.
The majority of respondents still answered ‘I feel uncomfortable about this’ to the idea of no restrictions being in place subject to Covid testing on arrival, though the proportion who said this has dropped from 72% in January to 65% in February.
When asked how they felt about a vaccine passport being required to attend live events, 67% of respondents selected ‘I’m OK with this’, with 13% saying it would be essential for them. Perhaps understandably, those who haven’t yet been vaccinated are more likely to say that they don’t feel comfortable about this idea (27% compared to 13% of those vaccinated).