There are certain habits most of us have adopted in the course of the coronavirus pandemic -- sanitizing our hands after touching shared surfaces, keeping our distance at the grocery store, and masking up in all public indoor spaces. But now, things may be changing.
The CDC has just announced that fully vaccinated people are now free to shed their masks, not only in outdoor settings, but in indoor settings as well. This means that in theory, anyone who's fully vaccinated can shop for food, get a haircut, or go to a movie theater without slapping on a mask in the process.
Of course, this change has some caveats attached to it. For one thing, the CDC still says that masks should be worn while traveling. That extends to airplanes, buses, and other types of public transportation. Furthermore, individual businesses will still have the right to mandate that customers wear a mask inside their stores -- though some companies are already in the process of reassessing their mask policies, and in light of this new guidance, that requirement may soon largely be waived.
Great news for real estate investors
The latest CDC update is, in a word, fantastic for real estate investors across the board. Mask-wearing has, for many people, been an impediment for going to stores and may have contributed to sluggish in-store sales across a range of businesses. Now that masks don't necessarily need to be worn indoors, foot traffic in stores could pick up. That means retailers, which have been hard-hit during the pandemic, may soon see their revenue increase, thereby minimizing the risk of widespread store closures -- closures that could hurt shopping centers and malls.
This news is also great for entertainment REITs (real estate investment trusts). If movie fans, for example, are allowed to watch a film without wearing masks, it makes for a more pleasant experience. That could, in turn, drive enough revenue to prevent theaters from shuttering.
And let's not forget hotels, which had their least profitable year on record in 2020. In light of the CDC's new announcement, travelers who have previously been wary of staying at a hotel may have a change of heart. That could lead to an uptick in bookings -- and the surge of revenue hotels so desperately need.
This news may benefit restaurants, too, which have also struggled during the pandemic. Though patrons can clearly go maskless while eating and drinking, they're generally required to wear a mask at all other times while visiting a dining establishment, which makes for a more restrictive experience. Easing up on that requirement could help restaurant revenue pick up, especially as dining capacity limits are lifted.
The Millionacres bottom line
All told, there's reason for real estate investors to be hopeful about the direction some of the most battered industries will now have an opportunity to go in. In fact, there's reason for the general public to be more optimistic about the idea of actually moving forward from the pandemic -- and getting back to an existence that doesn't involve donning a mask all the time.