Grocery store in the Target / Image=Gyubin Lee
[Newsphopick=Gyubin Lee] New research suggests grocery stores, banks, dentists, universities, and big-box stores like Walmart should reopen earlier and face fewer restrictions as communities open up after pandemic lockdowns.
The study, released on Tuesday, also determined that cafes, gyms, sporting goods stores, bookstores, tobacco, and liquor stores should be kept closed until later.
The researchers who took part in a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-led initiative did a cost-benefit analysis of 26 different location types to determine what the tradeoff would be between someone's relative risk of getting infected during a visit and the importance of that establishment in that person's life and to the economy.
They also used anonymous geolocation data from 47 million mobile phones to track where people went to the United States during February and March.
How risky a location could be was based in part on how much social contact someone would have in that location, how many hours they'd spend there, how crowded it would be, how many visits they'd make, and how many unique visitors they might encounter.
Researchers also factored in visits by people 65 years and older and the distance traveled to the location. They measured economic benefits using US Census statistics and nationally representative consumer survey data.