Poll: Americans maintain virus precautions as states reopen

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In this June 11, 2020 photo, Jody Hayden poses at the Grocer's Daughter chocolate shop which she owns with her husband in Empire, Mich, She said her family wears masks and keep their distance from others _ and will expect their customers to do the same when they open the doors to their shop, next Friday, June. 19. Even as states and metropolitan areas relax restrictions on social and economic life amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a new poll finds that most Americans aren't ready to abandon behaviors that protect themselves and the people around them. (AP Photo/John Flesher)

WASHINGTON – Most Americans say they are wearing masks. They are still by and large avoiding restaurants. And the vast majority are still staying at least six feet from others when out and about.

Even as states and metropolitan areas throughout the country relax restrictions on social and economic life during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a new poll finds that most Americans aren't yet ready to abandon the public health behaviors that help reduce the risk of themselves and the people around them contracting the virus that causes COVID-19.

“For us, it's about doing whatever we have to do to keep ourselves and our community safe,” said Jody Hayden, who runs a chocolate shop with her husband in the tiny Lake Michigan town of Empire, about 265 miles northwest of Detroit. She said her family wears masks and keeps their distance while out — and they'll expect customers to do the same when the doors to their store, the Grocer's Daughter, reopen next Friday.

“We see people from all over the world at our shop and we really love that, but this summer puts us at risk from people traveling from hot spots,” Hayden said. “We could anger some customers and lose money or not have all the safety measures and ... risk a life. We couldn't live with that.”

Overall, 90% of Americans say they're wearing a mask, according to the new poll conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago for the Data Foundation. That’s higher than in April, when 78% were wearing a mask in response to the disease.

The latest COVID Impact survey is the third in a series measuring the pandemic's impact on Americans’ physical, mental and social health.

The precautionary measures are not universal, with exceptions — such as a Memorial Day pool party at a bar in Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks — making headlines. This week, President Donald Trump moved his party's national convention to another state after officials in North Carolina balked at his desire to accept the Republican nomination in a packed basketball arena.

But majorities of Americans say they are still actively following the recommendations of public health experts. Sixty-three percent say they have canceled or postponed social or pleasure activities, down only slightly from 69% in April. Seventy-five percent say they are avoiding public or crowded places, down slightly from 80%. And 56% say they avoid contact with high-risk people, compared with 62%.