Poll: Most say they won’t go to gym, restaurants despite reopening

Julia Manchester

A majority of Americans say they won’t go to the gym or restaurants despite states’ new efforts to reopen the economy, a new national poll shows. 

Before the pandemic, 50 percent of respondents said that they attended a gym or fitness center monthly, according to a new AP-NORC poll, but only 24 percent of respondents surveyed said that they would return to exercise at a gym or fitness studio if these activities were allowed in the next few weeks. 

In addition, 52 percent of participants polled said that they dined out at restaurants or bars before the coronavirus hit the United States. Now, 43 percent of respondents said that they would venture out to these businesses again if restrictions were lifted. 

The results reflect the anxiety Americans feel about venturing out into the public while a vaccine that can guarantee immunity does not yet exist. 

According to the poll, 67 percent of participants said that they attended religious services monthly before the coronavirus outbreak. Only 38 percent said that they were likely to attend services after restrictions were lifted. 

States across the country began issuing stay-at-home orders in early March to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. The measures limited access to restaurants, confining most eateries to takeout or curbside pickup. Many fitness centers and gyms completely shuttered. 

The survey comes as state and local governments in the U.S. look to reopen their economies. Coastal coronavirus hot spots such as Washington state, California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts have begun to partially reopen, as these areas have seen a downward trend in confirmed cases, deaths and hospitalizations. 

However, other areas of the U.S. that have begun phased reopenings are seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, particularly in the South and MidwestStates like Florida and Texas, which have had some of the most aggressive reopenings, are seeing an increase in case counts. 

As of Friday morning, the U.S. has more than 1.5 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 94,000 deaths due to the disease. 

The AP-NORC poll was conducted from May 14 to 18, with 1,056 adults nationwide. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points, according to the pollsters.

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