Gallup sees biggest drop in Americans who say they are avoiding public places

Gallup sees biggest drop in Americans who say they are avoiding public places
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Gallup this week saw its biggest drop in Americans who say they are avoiding public places during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gallup’s poll, released Thursday, found that 65 percent of people said they have avoided public places in the past seven days, down from 71 percent last week. In mid-April, when most stay-at-home orders were still in place, 78 percent of people said they were avoiding public spaces.

The poll this week also saw an increase in the percentage of people who said they had visited a restaurant in the past 24 hours, reaching 21 percent from last week’s 13 percent. The question was unclear on whether these individuals went to a restaurant to participate in reopened dine-in services or to pick up food and take it home.

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The poll also showed the largest weekly decrease in the percentage of people who avoided small gatherings in the past week, dropping from 71 percent last week to 63 percent this week. In mid-April, 84 percent of people said they were avoiding small gatherings. 

The percentage of people who are mostly or completely isolating has also hit a new low at 55 percent as part of an ongoing decline. This percentage is lower than the numbers from late March, which was before most states instituted stay-at-home orders.

The majority of respondents expressed caution about continuing daily life as 71 percent say healthy people should stay home, while 29 percent said healthy people should live their lives as normally as possible. In mid-March, at the onset of the pandemic in the U.S., 87 percent advised healthy people to stay home. 

A total of 79 percent of Americans say they wear face masks in public.

The drop in people avoiding public places and small gatherings coincides with the expiration of several stay-at-home orders and the loosening of restrictions in different states across the country. 

Most states are making efforts to partly reopen, but the majority of people say they are not returning to normal activities in public, indicating more might have to be done to make Americans feel comfortable enough to go back to normal.

The poll was conducted between May 11-17 among 4,117 U.S. adults aged 18 and older. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.