Majority of Americans Don't Support Reopening, Poll Finds — as Coronavirus Continues to Spread

The new poll comes as many states begin to ease restrictions and lift stay-at-home orders

restaurants coronavirus
Photo: Victor J. Blue/Getty

A new poll conducted by The Washington Post and the University of Maryland’s Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement reveals that a majority of Americans don't support lifting restrictions and reopening businesses amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Washington Post-University of Maryland poll was conducted by phone on April 28 through May 3 on a random sample of 1,005 U.S. adults. Results from the poll showed that most Americans clearly oppose the reopening of restaurants, retail stores, gyms and other businesses — even as many states across the country begin to lift restrictions and pockets of anti-lockdown protestors become more vocal.

Protesters rally, to demand an end to the state wide 'stay at home advisory' and the new law enforcing everyone to wear a mask in public, outside the Massachusetts State House in Boston, Massachusetts on May 4, 2020
Protesters rally to demand an end to the statewide 'stay at home advisory' and the new law enforcing everyone to wear a mask in public, outside the Massachusetts State House in Boston, Massachusetts on May 4, 2020. JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty

When asked about eight different types of businesses — gun stores, restaurants, nail salons, retail stores, hair/barber salons, gyms, golf courses, movie theaters — those polled overwhelmingly voted not to reopen the businesses. The most opposed were movie theaters, with 82 percent against their reopening, followed by gyms at 78 percent, and restaurants and nail salons both with 74 percent.

Additionally, while a majority of Americans are comfortable going to the grocery store, 67 percent said they would feel uncomfortable going to a retail store and 78 percent said they would not feel comfortable eating out at a restaurant.

When asked about President Trump's response to the outbreak, 56 percent of pollers gave negative reviews while 44 percent approved.

Meanwhile, 75 percent gave positive marks for state governors across the country, and 74 percent approved of Dr. Anthony S. Fauci. The immunologist's ratings showed bipartisan support, as more than two-thirds of Republicans and independents approved of his work during the pandemic, in addition to nearly 9 in 10 Democrats.

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci. Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock

Last week, Fauci cautioned governors against “leapfrogging” ahead to reopening without making sure that proper safety measures — such as widespread testing, available hospital beds and sufficient personal protective equipment for workers — are in place.

“Obviously you could get away with that, but you’re making a really significant risk,” Fauci said on CNN Thursday night, adding that if states relax their restrictions too soon, we are going to see "another peak."

As of Tuesday, May 5, there are over 1.1 million cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. and 68,843 confirmed deaths, according to The New York Times database. Over 1,000 additional deaths have been announced every day since April 2.

Some states are still seeing an increase in the number of cases, while others, like New York and New Jersey, are finally seeing a downturn.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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