COVID-19

How are people managing yard sales in the age of social distancing?

Erika Beras May 25, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace
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States are setting guidelines for safe garage and yard sales to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images
COVID-19

How are people managing yard sales in the age of social distancing?

Erika Beras May 25, 2020
States are setting guidelines for safe garage and yard sales to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images
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Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kickoff to summer, and along with all of the pastimes of summer are garage, yard and stoop sales. But how will those sales look in the age of social distancing?

For Renee Translateur, a Pittsburgh resident, pretty much every summer weekend is spent scouring yard sales for toys and figurines. But this year? 

“Because of the COVID-19, I think that yard sales are a little bit too close for comfort,” Translateur said. “There’s always going to be other people there, and I don’t feel comfortable handling items that other people are handling.” 

As states reopen, health departments are coming up with guidelines for yard sales to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In Vermont, no more than ten people should be at a sale. In Ohio, the merchandise must be washed and dried or wiped down with a disinfectant, hand sanitizer has to be available and tables and chairs should be set six feet apart. 

Kat Holmes, who lives outside Cleveland, had a three day yard sale that ended Saturday. She wore a mask and gloves and put arrows on the ground to guide people.

“It actually worked out where when we snaked people around, they started in and they exited out at the last row,” Holmes said.

And Holmes said she profitted around $500.

Donna Tauber, who lives in Indiana, helps organize the National Historic Road Yard Sale where hundreds of vendors along Route 40 — known as the Main Street of America — sell from Baltimore to St. Louis. Because unemployment is so high, “we know that people are going to want to make some extra fast cash by having a sale, so there may be more sales,” Tauber said.

The event is usually held this week, but it’s been postponed. Organizers may try to hold it in August. 

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

New COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. are on the rise. How are Americans reacting?

Johns Hopkins University reports the seven-day average of new cases hit 68,767 on Sunday  — a record — eclipsing the previous record hit in late July during the second, summer wave of infection. A funny thing is happening with consumers though: Even as COVID-19 cases rise, Americans don’t appear to be shying away from stepping indoors to shop or eat or exercise. Morning Consult asked consumers how comfortable they feel going out to eat, to the shopping mall or on a vacation. And their willingness has been rising. Surveys find consumers’ attitudes vary by age and income, and by political affiliation, said Chris Jackson, who heads up polling at Ipsos.

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

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