How COVID-19 Affects Real World Behaviors

By Victoria Guimarin


It’s safe to say, 2020 is unlike any year in history. As the pandemic is still ongoing and it’s long-lasting impact is still unknown, the people at Foursquare took the step (no pun intended) to track foot traffic data in a variety of places to see how the virus is influencing real world behaviors. As businesses and services continue to open around the country, Foursquare will continue to update their data and track trends. As of this posting, Foursquare has identified some of the following behaviors with the greatest shifts:

People’s Desire to Exercise

Whether people desire the great outdoors or a gym, foot traffic outside of the house has been a constant throughout the pandemic. In April, when things had just shut down, Foursquare found that visits to trails were up 34% nationally while visits to parks were up 10% nationally. As gyms have begun to reopen, foot traffic is seeing an uptick and is only down 36% as of June 12.

Eating Out Has a Long Way to Go

Since the beginning of the pandemic, restaurants have been some of the hardest hit businesses, with sit-down restaurants taking huge hits, while quick serve restaurants (QSR) saw much smaller drops in customers. While it did take some time for traditional sit-down restaurants to develop take out options, according to Foursquare data, QSRs are basically back to pre-COVID numbers during lunch and dinner, but are struggling to get customers during breakfast since most people aren’t commuting. It seems, people are still relying on home cooked meals and will adopt more restaurants as they continue to open up.

The Road is King

As people continue to remain wary of air travel, many have opted for the open road. According to Foursquare, gas station visits surpassed pre-COVID levels nationally as of June 12.

Thankfully, many of the negative habits people picked up on at the beginning of the pandemic, such as stockpiling toilet paper, have subsided. However, many of the positive habits acquired during the pandemic are still happening, such as working from home, working on projects around the house, shopping online, and streaming movies are still being done regularly even as the country opens up. We have a long way to go, but we are on our way to a new normal. 

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