SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (NEXSTAR) — Californians are not ready for things to go back to normal amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new exclusive statewide poll released Monday.
California was one of the first to go on lock down when the virus began to rapidly spread across the United States. Even though the state is moving into the second of four stages of reopening, most businesses are still shut down like offices, retail stores, gyms, and dine-in restaurants.
A Nexstar Media/Emerson College poll that surveyed 800 people shows that even if gyms reopened today, a vast majority, 74%, said they would not feel comfortable going even with spacing precautions.
More Californians said they would go to a restaurant than a gym, but the majority, 64.8%, still said right now they would be uncomfortable dining in a restaurant.
When it comes to going to a beach or park, 54.8% said they were comfortable while 45.2% said they were not even with some spacing precautions.
The coronavirus crisis has sent U.S. unemployment rate surging to record highs, levels not seen since the Great Depression.
The Labor Department said 20.5 million jobs vanished in April in the worst monthly loss on record.
A third, 33.3%, of respondents said they or someone in their household lost their job due to the coronavirus pandemic.
When it comes to returning to work, most, 27.3%, said they will go back under any circumstances while 14.7% said they would not go over fear of getting sick.
Eleven-percent said they will not return until testing is conducted at work and 19.8% said they will but only if face masks are worn.
A quarter, 25%, of those who responded said they are unemployed.
As of Monday, May 11, more than 66,000 people have been infected with the virus in a state of nearly 40 million people.
The poll shows most people, 84.5%, don’t know someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.
With a general election coming up in November, a big topic of discussion among politicians and voters is safety concerns at polling places.
Democrats have largely supported allowing all voters to vote by mail but Republicans have pushed back on the idea saying it opens the door for voting fraud.
The poll shows the majority, 76.1%, of California voters would rather vote by mail than in person.
Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order allowing all registered voters in California to vote by mail. California is the first state in the nation to make this commitment.
Newsom said there will also be physical polling locations for those who are not familiar or comfortable with voting by mail.
See the raw data from the poll in the documents below:
The California Nexstar Media/Emerson College was conducted May 8-9, 2020 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.4%.