New research suggests that grocery stores and universities should reopen first
New research suggests that grocery stores, banks, schools, learning centres, dentists, universities, and hypermarkets like Wal-Mart should open earlier, and as communities reopen after a large-scale blockade, the restrictions they face should also be reduced.
The study, released on Tuesday, also stipulates that cafes, gyms, sporting goods stores, bookstores, and tobacco and alcohol stores should be closed until later.
The researchers who took part during a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-led initiative did a price benefit analysis of 26 different location types to work out what the tradeoff would be between someone’s relative risk of getting infected during a visit and therefore the importance of that establishment therein person’s life and to the economy.
They also used anonymous geolocation data from 47 million mobile phones to trace where people went within the us during February and March.
How risky a location might be was based partially on what proportion social contact someone would have therein location, what percentage hours they’d spend there, how crowded it might be, what percentage visits they’d make.
Researchers also factored in visits by people 65 years and older and therefore the distance traveled to the situation . They measured economic benefits using US Census statistics and nationally representative consumer survey data.
They found some surprises.
Some categories were easy — grocery stores have a clear benefit and museums and movie theaters were of relatively low importance.
The researchers pointed out: “Hardware stores are the place where the number of shoppers increases the most, because people are looking for personal protective equipment and other household items in hardware stores.”
“We found that banks, department stores (such as Wal-Mart), dentists, grocery stores and universities should face relatively loose restrictions. Gyms, sporting goods stores, tobacco and alcohol stores, bookstores and cafes should face relatively strict restrictions.” They concluded.
The authors said there’s a limitation to their analysis.
Many locations can make adjustments to limit contact. Most retailers offers curbside pickup so people do not have to travel within the stores. For gyms, on the opposite hand, it’s harder since they emphasize physical contact and are locations where mask use is “unpleasant,” the researchers wrote.
Since many nations have had to form reopening and shutting decisions within the dark, the researchers said they hope their work will help policymakers find out the way to reopen the economy safely this point .