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Nearly three-quarters of respondents were unsupportive of allowing dine-in restaurants to open up in their states.
Most Americans are still worried about becoming infected with the coronavirus and oppose opening a range of businesses that have been shuttered as part of efforts to control the disease outbreak, according to new poll results released on Tuesday.
The findings call into question how swiftly or strongly certain economic activity will resume even as some states begin to relax the business closure restrictions and stay-at-home orders that they have put in place over the past couple of months.
Results from the Washington Post-University of Maryland poll show that 63% of respondents are either “very” or “somewhat” worried about becoming infected and falling seriously ill from the virus.
Notably, that figure is up compared to two earlier Washington Post-University of Maryland polls. An April 26 survey pegged it at 60% and one on April 19 at 57%.
The latest survey, which was conducted between April 28 and May 3, also asked participants if they supported reopening eight different types of businesses: gun stores, dine-in restaurants, nail salons, barber shops and hair salons, retail shops like clothing stores, gyms, golf courses and movie theaters.
A majority of respondents said their state should not allow each of these types of businesses to reopen yet—with nearly three-quarters opposed to the reopening of dine-in restaurants.
The share of those opposed to their states allowing the other types of businesses to open ranged from 59% for golf courses to 82% for movie theaters. Seventy-eight percent were against reopening gyms.
Another question asked respondents if they’d feel comfortable or uncomfortable going to different types of business establishments at the time when they were surveyed.
Seventy-eight percent of people said they would feel uncomfortable eating out in a restaurant and 67% said they’d be uncomfortable going to a retail clothing store. But a majority, 56%, did say that they were comfortable going to the grocery store.
Views on some of the issues addressed in the survey differed by party, age and gender.
For example, 81% of women said their state should not allow dine-in restaurants to be open, while only 66% of men said the same. Meanwhile, 88% of Democrats were opposed to allowing dine-in restaurants to be open, while the same was true for only 63% of Republicans.
Similarly, 52% of Republican respondents voiced support for allowing retail shops to open up, compared to just 18% of Democrats.
Asked about their feelings on the coronavirus outbreak in their local communities, 23% of 18 to 39 year-olds said “the worst is behind us.” The share offering that more optimistic take increased with age, to 32% in the 40 to 64 age bracket and 40% among those 65 and older.
The survey also found that people rated their governor’s response to the virus outbreak more favorably than President Trump’s. Overall, 44% of respondents said the president’s response to pandemic was “excellent” or “good,” while 75% said the same about their state’s governor.
The poll was conducted among a random national sample of 1,005 adults with 70% reached on cell phones and 30% on landlines.
Overall results have a margin of sampling error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. Some responses that relied on a smaller subgroup have a +/- 5 percentage point margin of error.
More on the survey can be found here.
Bill Lucia is a Senior Reporter for Route Fifty and is based in Olympia, Washington.