Wisconsinites are growing more comfortable amid COVID-19, but hesitate to return to all activities

A COVID-19 testing tent set up in the parking lot of Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital - Elmbrook Campus.
A COVID-19 testing tent.

Last updated on June 25th, 2020 at 02:18 pm

Wisconsinites are growing more comfortable with the idea of returning to a wide-range of activities that have been limited during the coronavirus outbreak, according to the latest Marquette University Law School poll.

However, the poll also found that nearly half of respondents are still uncomfortable with the idea of eating out at a restaurant and nearly two-thirds remain uncomfortable with the idea of going to a large sporting event, concert or play.

The poll, conducted June 14 to June 18, surveyed 805 registered voters in the state and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

During an early May poll, prior to the lifting of Wisconsin’s “Safer-at-Home” order, 77% of respondents said they would be comfortable going to the home of a close friend or family member. In the latest poll, that number jumped to 83%.

The poll found similar increases across a number of other activities. The number of respondents willing to shop at a mall or large retail store increased from 56% to 65%, those willing to go to a restaurant shifted from 42% to 49% and those willing to go to a large event increased from 25% to 33%.

A majority of respondents, 53%, said the upcoming Democratic and Republican National Conventions should not be held in-person. The DNC is scheduled to be held in Milwaukee in July.

Even with growing comfort for many activities, the poll found respondents now expect it will take longer to get the coronavirus under control. In May, 38% of respondents expected it to be under control by August. In the latest poll, that figure dropped to 22%, including 12% who feel it is already under control.

In contrast, the number of respondents expecting it to take a year or more to get the virus under control increased from 36% to 53% from May to June.

Respondents are also becoming less concerned about coming down with the coronavirus. In May, 25% said they were very worried about experiencing it, a figure that fell to 19% in the latest poll. On the other hand, the number of responding not at all concerned about catching it increased from 19% to 24%.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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