- Four in five still want to wait before resuming normal daily routines
- Desire to wait growing among men, workers and city residents
- Republicans remain more comfortable than others with resuming normalcy
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans remain hesitant about resuming their normal daily activities amid the COVID-19 outbreak according to a Gallup question first asked in late March and repeated in early April.
When asked how quickly they will return to their normal activities once the government lifts restrictions and businesses and schools start to reopen, the vast majority of Americans say they would wait and see what happens with the spread of the virus (71%) and another 10% would wait indefinitely. Just 20% say they would return to their normal activities immediately.
These views are essentially unchanged from late March.
|March 27-29||April 3-5|
|Wait to see what happens with the coronavirus before resuming||69||71|
|Continue to limit your contact with other people and daily activities indefinitely||9||10|
|Gallup Panel, 2020|
Party ID Remains Biggest Differentiator in Eagerness to Normalize
The vast majority of all key subgroups of Americans, regardless of demographics or economic status, indicate they would wait to see what happens with the virus before resuming normal life. However, there are a few notable differences by subgroup in those willing to get right back to normalcy.
Republicans (31%), residents of small towns/rural areas (23%) and men (22%) are more likely to forecast that they'll resume their normal activities immediately.
There is no clear pattern by age with both the youngest adults (25% of those 18-29) as well as those of older middle-age (24% of those 50-64) expressing the most comfort with returning to normal immediately once government lifts restrictions. Adults aged 30 to 49 and seniors are more cautious.
Notably, there is no difference in these views by respondents' household income or whether a person is employed.
|Immediately||Wait to see what happens||Limit contact/
|18 to 29||25||70||6|
|30 to 49||16||76||7|
|50 to 64||24||62||14|
|65 and older||18||73||9|
|Type of community|
|Small town/Rural area||23||66||11|
|Full response options: 1) Immediately; 2) Wait to see what happens with the coronavirus before resuming; 3) Continue to limit your contact with other people and daily activities indefinitely|
|Gallup Panel, April 3-5, 2020|
Caution Mounting Among Men, City Residents
While the views of Americans as a whole haven't changed much on this question since March, men, city residents and political independents have grown less likely to say they would return to their daily activities immediately once government lifts restrictions.
Men were initially 12 percentage points more likely than women to say they would return to normal immediately (28% vs. 16%). That gap has since narrowed to five points, 22% vs. 17%.
Between late March and early April, residents of cities became less likely to forecast going back to normal immediately, falling from 23% to 15%. Over the same period, there was no meaningful change among those living in small towns or rural areas.
|March 27-29||April 3-5||Change|
|18 to 29||21||25||+4|
|30 to 49||22||16||-6|
|50 to 64||25||24||-1|
|65 and older||18||18||0|
|Type of community|
|Small town/Rural area||23||23||0|
|Gallup Panel, 2020|
Few Americans are ready to get back to normal right now, and as the country looks to the future, some segments of society have grown even less comfortable with the idea of resuming normal daily activities and interpersonal contacts.
Meanwhile, no doubt reflecting the health challenges COVID-19 is presenting in places like New York City, Detroit, New Orleans and Los Angeles, a city-country divide may be emerging in Americans' willingness to resume their normal activities when businesses and schools are allowed to reopen. After expressing similar willingness in March to return to normal immediately, city and rural/small-town Americans' views now diverge with city residents showing more caution.
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