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Vaccine requirements for dining out get mixed responses across the US

If you hoped the restaurant industry had reached peak “good news, bad news” (sales are up, supply is down; dining rooms are open, with no one available to staff them), you’d be premature.

Take, for example, vaccinations. For our most recent quarterly consumer survey, RMS was curious what impact, if any, ordinances and mandates requiring proof of vaccinations or negative COVID tests would have on consumer desire to dine out. We asked 900 diners across the U.S., and you guessed it — the findings were a mixed bag, with responses falling into either the good news or the bad news camp.

Nearly 1 in 2 respondents support vaccine or negative COVID test requirements by restaurants. Yet slightly more than 30% would stop going to restaurants if vaccines or test results were required.

In the Northeast and West, respondents were more accepting of mandates, possibly due to safety measures being more common. In both regions, 75% of vaccinated respondents would support showing proof of vaccination to dine in, and 61% support requiring proof of a negative COVID test.

Among the unvaccinated, the numbers were drastically less favorable, though the West and Northeast remain the most accepting of mandates. Midwesterners were the least accepting of dining restrictions — 9 out of 10 unvaccinated respondents did not agreed that they would feel more comfortable if dine-in guests were vaccinated.

Vaccination rates across demographics continue trending heaviest among boomers, with 78% of boomer respondents vaccinated, followed by Gen X at 61% and nearly half of Gen Z and millennials.

Check out this article to discover what else was on consumers’ minds regarding dining out, drive-thrus, and breakfast and lunch concepts.

You can also explore more consumer insights by visiting our Consumer Reports landing page.

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