Religious Buildings Reopen in Southwestern U.S. at a Faster Pace

Places of worship are slowly reopening across the U.S., but generally more quickly in southwestern states.

Large cities that were hit hard by the virus and stay-at-home orders are showing more tepid religious-property usage in early March, according to data from Brivo, which records the time and location of tens of millions of commercial-building access events from doors connected to its platform.

Data for New York City show fewer than one-third and in San Francisco less than half of religious buildings have reopened. Meanwhile, more than 83% in Salt Lake City are open.

Religious Buildings Reopen in Southwestern U.S. at a Faster Pace

Overall, Brivo data shows that America’s commercial buildings are 58% reopened as of March 12, compared with the pre-pandemic daily average in February 2020. Religious buildings remain 26.5% below the normal access rates.

Last year, less than half of Americans identified as being a member of a church or synagogue, the first time the figure has fallen below 50% since Gallup started polling on this issue in 1992.

And for the second year in a row, less than half of the U.S. population deems religion as “very important“ in life.

Generally, surveys have found people in the Southeast and Southwest more religious than those in New England and the Pacific, and the importance people assign to places of worship may be reflected in the reopening data.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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