COVID-19 & Its Impact on Everyday Life: May 8 – 11, 2020

 In Business

Concern about the pandemic mostly held steady this week after gradual improvement in recent weeks.  However, after decreasing steadily across the prior four weeks, there was a significant increase in the percentage of Americans who believe the pandemic is getting worse.

It appears the national conversation around the reopening and potential reopening of states may have impacted opinions towards the pandemic. Only 12% of Americans believe their state should re-open in May and one in three continue to believe that their governor will reopen their state earlier than they would prefer.

These recent developments have delayed the return to essential activities. The percentage of people returning to supermarkets, larger stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores did not change since last week.

This week has a special focus on summer vacation plans.  This is a good barometer of confidence in both safety and economic conditions, as vacationing in the summer often requires paid accommodations, dining out, and social situations with other travelers/residents.

It turns out a majority of Americans who had summer travel plans before the pandemic have cancelled their trip. Nearly one-third of those who kept their vacation plans have changed the destination, often to a place closer to home.

Russell Research has interviewed over 10,000 Americans in the past ten weeks about their coronavirus concerns and its impact on everyday behavior. Our COVID-19 Monitor will evolve in the coming weeks as the situation changes.

Below are our key findings from May 8-11, 2020. Russell Research has tabulated data available for all 10,000+ interviews with several additional questions asked.  Please email info@russellresearch.com for more information.

Views of the Current Situation

Concern remains heightened among Americans. Between May 8-11, 86% of Americans indicated they are concerned about coronavirus, compared to 85% from one week prior.

While two in five Americans believe the situation is improving, the percentage who feel it’s getting worse rose sharply this week. 40% of Americans feel that the current situation is getting better, compared to 43% last week. 31% believe the situation is getting worse, compared to 26% last week.

Impact on Behavior

The proportion of Americans open to shopping in-person for essential items is largely unchanged.

  • 45% of Americans are currently less likely to go to a large store (+1 percentage points vs. last week)
  • 29% are currently less likely to go to the convenience store (-1)
  • 24% are currently less likely to go to the grocery store (-1)
  • 18% are currently less likely to go to a pharmacy/drug store (+1)

The behavior changes brought on by COVID-19 are holding strong.

  • 62% of Americans are more likely to order online (+2)
  • 41% are more likely to stock up on household items (+2)
  • 48% are more likely to order takeout or delivery (+2)
  • 26% are more likely to have groceries delivered (+1)
  • 18% are more likely to have medication delivered (+2)

Most Americans remain apprehensive towards taking part in non-essential activities.

  • 71% of Americans are less likely to go to the movies (-1 vs. last week)
  • 69% are less likely to go to a shopping mall (+2)
  • 68% are less likely to dine at a sit-down restaurant (-2)
  • 64% are less likely to go to the gym (+1)
  • 63% are less likely to go to a casino (+3)

Returning to Everyday Life

Americans are not ready for their state to re-open.

  • 12% of Americans believe states should allow businesses to return to normal operations in May. (-5 vs. last week)
  • 25% believe they should be able to return to normal operations in June (+3).
  • 13% believe they should be able to return to normal operations in July (-1).
  • 15% believe they should be able to return to normal operations in August or later (-1).
  • 28% believe it’s too soon to say when businesses should be able to return to normal operations (+2).
  • 7% indicate their state has already re-opened (+2).

One in three Americans believe their state will reopen businesses before they want them to.

  • 33% of Americans believe their state will return to normal operations before they would want them to (no change vs. last week)
  • 44% believe their state will return to normal operations when they would want them to (-1)
  • 23% believe their state will return to normal operations after they would want them to (no change)

Summer Vacation Planning

A majority of Americans who had summer vacation plans before the pandemic have cancelled them.

  • 65% of Americans had plans to take a vacation this summer.
  • Of those who planned to take a summer vacation:
    • 42% still plan to take a summer vacation (equal to 27% of all Americans)
    • 58% have cancelled their summer vacation plans

Three in ten Americans still planning to take a summer vacation have changed their destination – often closer to home.

  • 59% of Americans with summer vacation plans are going to their original destination
  • 31% are going to a different destination
  • 10% did not have a destination in mind before the pandemic
  • Among the 31% traveling to a different destination:
    • 48% are going somewhere closer to home
    • 26% are going somewhere further from home
    • 26% are going somewhere about the same distance from home
  • Most summer vacationers will travel to a drivable destination.
    • 35% plan to travel by air
    • 63% plan to travel by car
    • 2% plan to travel in some other way
    • 61% plan to eat out at restaurants
    • 42% plan to order take out or delivery from restaurants
    • 45% plan to prepare purchased food from grocery or other food stores
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