Two-thirds of New Jerseyans feel the state is moving to lift restrictions and reopen businesses at the appropriate pace, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. And while 19 percent feel it’s happening too quickly, 16 percent feel it’s happening too slowly.
When asked how long they think it will take before the state starts to “loosen restrictions and reopen businesses,” 12 percent of residents say it will happen sometime around now, 38 percent expect it by June 1, and 26 percent expect it by July 1.
But when the question is “how long before life returns to normal?,” only a third believe New Jersey will get back to normal by either mid-May, June 1, or July 1. Seventeen percent expect “normal” by the end of summer, 18 percent by the end of the year, and 25 percent say it’ll take longer than that.
“Perceptions on the pace at which New Jersey is moving to reopen and when normalcy will return are divided by familiar partisan lines,” said Ashley Koning, assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University–New Brunswick in a statement. “While a majority of Democrats, independents and Republicans alike agree with the speed of the state’s approach to reopen, Democrats do so to a far greater degree than their counterparts. Independents and Republicans are also more hopeful than Democrats when it comes to how long they think it will take before restrictions are loosened and life returns to normal.”
Many New Jerseyans are concerned about a variety of consequences that come with COVID-19 and ongoing restrictions, according to the poll. While 41 percent are very worried and 38 percent are somewhat worried that someone in their household will get sick from the virus, about the same number of people (41 percent very, 35 percent somewhat) are worried about being prepared if that happens. Six in ten are concerned about obtaining a test if they need it.
On the economic realities posed by the COVID-19 outbreak, about six in ten are very or somewhat worried they will get laid off from work or have their hours or pay reduced. Six in ten are worried about being able to meet their monthly financial obligations. Nearly three-quarters are either very or somewhat worried about losing financial investments or savings.
Eight in ten are very or somewhat worried that their local hospital will run out of necessary equipment, like ventilators or personal protective equipment. Nine in ten are very (58 percent) or somewhat (34 percent) worried that local businesses in their community will shutter permanently due to loss of revenue because of the outbreak.
Just over half of all respondents are very or somewhat worried about being able to obtain food and other household essentials.
“The degree to which some groups worry more than others about the outbreak’s various ramifications are stark,” said Koning in a statement. “Worry over the coronavirus itself, job or pay loss, finances, and local hospitals having proper equipment is much higher among black and Hispanic residents than white residents – often by double digits – as well as lower-income residents compared to those in higher-income brackets.”
A total of 1,502 adults took this poll via phone from April 22 to May 2.