With the Delta variant of COVID-19 raging, there are now questions about an economic recovery that was once seen as inevitable.

The variant is already hindering some buying behavior and hitting consumer confidence hard, according to a new report by Morning Consult, which says consumer confidence has fallen sharply since the beginning of July, dropping 4.6%. Overall, consumer confidence is at its lowest point since March 9, 2021, and just went through its most significant three-week decline since November 2020, when the third wave of COVID infections was tearing through the country.

Restaurants provide an example of how sharply consumer confidence has declined. The share of adults comfortable going out to eat at a restaurant or café dropped three percentage points to 68% from early July to July 24.

“If consumers increasingly opt to stay away from activities they deem too risky, sales at businesses such as restaurants, hotels,…

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