Significantly fewer Americans say they are avoiding public places, with the largest weekly declines seen to date in Gallup’s trends. These include an eight-point decline in the percentage avoiding small gatherings, a six-point decline in the percentage avoiding public places and a five-point decline in the percentage avoiding air travel or public transportation.
Over a longer time span — the past five weeks — the largest change has come with respect to avoiding small gatherings, which has dropped a total of 21 points. Meanwhile, there have been double-digit declines since mid-April in avoiding public places and public transportation.
The latest results are based on May 11-17 interviewing of members of Gallup’s probability-based online panel.
In addition to the fewer Americans avoiding public places, Gallup now finds a new low of 55% saying they are “completely” or “mostly isolating” themselves from people outside their household, continuing an ongoing decline. The current figure is now lower than the 58% recorded in late March, before most states had issued shelter-in-place orders. In recent weeks, most states have let those shelter-in-place orders lapse or have eased stay-at-home restrictions.
Importantly, even as fewer Americans are avoiding public places and isolating themselves, majorities still indicate they are doing so. The most common response for Americans, then, is to exercise caution in returning to normal activities amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The tendency toward a cautious return as restrictions are lifted is also evident in the 71% of Americans who say the best advice for healthy people is to stay home as much as possible to avoid catching or spreading the coronavirus. The remaining 29% say it is better for healthy people to live their lives as normally as possible to avoid disruptions to work and business. The percentage who are advocating for people to stay at home is down, however, from 87% in mid-March.
Americans’ worry about personally catching the coronavirus has eased a little, currently at 51% down from 57% in early April.
Spike in Restaurant Visits Last Week
Some states have reopened restaurant dining areas; restaurants had largely been limited to providing take-out or delivery orders to patrons during the pandemic. Last week, 21% of U.S. adults indicated they had visited a restaurant in the past 24 hours, a sharp increase from 13% the week before. The question did not indicate whether people dined at the restaurant or got takeout, but the increase indicates people feel more comfortable about going outside their home to get food than at any point during the coronavirus situation. The increase in restaurant visits is generally observed in every major demographic subgroup.
Last week also saw a further increase in Americans’ reports of visiting someone else’s home, now 23%, up from 19% a week ago and 13% near the end of April.
Meanwhile, reported visits to work and grocery stores have leveled off after recent increases, but the poll did find an uptick last week from 20% to 25% in the percentage who report visiting other types of stores.
MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, this resumption in public activity has implications for Apple Retail Stores as they continue to reopen in the U.S. and worldwide.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on self-administered web surveys conducted May 11-17, 2020, with a random sample of 4,117 U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, who are members of the Gallup Panel. Gallup uses probability-based, random sampling methods to recruit its Panel members.
Gallup weighted the obtained samples to correct for nonresponse. Nonresponse adjustments were made by adjusting the sample to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education and region. Demographic weighting targets were based on the most recent Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. For results based on any individual sample, the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. Margins of error for subgroups are higher.