After a year of serious restrictions imposed due to the national COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are planning on flying around the country this summer for both business and pleasure.

A resumption of air travel 

People are growing increasingly eager to leave their homes and towns, reestablish connections with friends and family severed by the pandemic or simply travel for the sake of traveling. A number of states, such as Texas, already rolled back some COVID-19 related restrictions on public gatherings. As vaccination becomes more widespread, people will certainly feel more confident about returning to their previous social activities and habits.

One major economic and social metric to watch as 2021 unfolds will be domestic travel. With the injection of an economic stimulus earlier in 2021 and those with disposable income mostly grounded for the past year, its no surprise people are looking to travel in 2021.

Unlike last year, when socially distanced road trips and campouts were en vogue, Americans are more bullish on flying. A report from the New York Times analyzing early data for bookings this summer indicates airline travel will fully recover by this summer with strong demand for both leisure and business travel routes. This means people are feeling more confident aboard a plane, and in an airport. This could signal a permanent return to domestic discretionary travel starting in 2021.

All adults are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination

As of late April 2021, all adults in the United States are eligible to receive a vaccine against the novel coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of April 19, 2021, 25.7% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and 39.9% received at least one dose of a vaccine.

According to the Pew Research Center, in March 2021 about 69% of U.S. adults said they are vaccinated, definitely will be vaccinated or are likely to be vaccinated. Conversely, 30% said they will probably not or will definitely not receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Public health authorities say between 70% to 90% of a population needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to the virus.

As for public opinion about a resumption of pre-pandemic life, most Americans – according to a Pew poll conducted in early March 2021 – think it will be between six months to two years before “most businesses, schools, places of worship and other public activities operate about as they did before the COVID-19 outbreak.” The same survey determined about 80% of Americans believe the economy will take more than a year to fully recover.

Impacts for the chicken industry

In the May issue of WATT PoultryUSA, you can read my report on what the chicken industry should expect in 2021 and beyond as the COVID-19 situation improves in the U.S. In that report a consensus of economic, consumer and poultry industry observers, concluded the poultry industry should see a widespread recovery as demand normalizes.

One major component of normalizing demand will be a resumption of demand from foodservice. If Americans are ready to resume flying, that means they are likely ready to stay at a hotel, attend a conference or live entertainment event and dine out of the home, too. These are significant positives for the chicken and turkey industries and a welcome sign after a long and chaotic year dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions.

View our continuing coverage of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.