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Poll shows concerns remain over coronavirus in Lafayette Parish

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Posted at 3:47 PM, Jun 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-19 16:47:38-04

A recent poll conducted in Lafayette Parish shows concerns remain over the novel coronavirus.

The Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA) and the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission (LCVC) sponsored an opinion survey of local attitudes surrounding COVID-19, conducted by national polling firm, Public Policy Polling.

"This survey provides significant insight into how our citizens feel about this public health emergency and how best to respond to these challenges," said Gregg Gothreaux, President and CEO of LEDA. "It is imperative that we get the economy moving again; however, that needs to be done with thoughtful consideration for the safety of employees, customers, and our most vulnerable citizens. With this information, we will work with LCVC, LCG and our area Chambers of Commerce to expand and improve our efforts to address the concerns of our people and our businesses."

"LCVC appreciates this opportunity to learn more about local attitudes affecting our efforts to jumpstart our tourism and hospitality economy" said Ben Berthelot, President and CEO of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission. "We have been very pleased with the way the tourism and hospitality businesses have begun opening in a safe manner- in many instances setting the bar for best practices. Based on the survey, I say we have some room to grow in showing our citizens how diligent these sectors have been in providing a safe environment. LCVC is committed to working with our local stakeholders to establish our community as a leader in responding to COVID-19, positioning Lafayette in a way that allows us to be both safe and strong."

The poll of 782 voters was commissioned to learn more about the attitudes and opinions of Lafayette Parish residents with respect to the COVID-19 public health emergency, response by government, and comfort level with reopening the local economy.

The poll was conducted June 15 and 16.

Among the key findings of the poll:

Nearly 80% of those polled reported being concerned about coronavirus, including 53% who are "very concerned" and 26% who are "somewhat concerned." Twenty-two percent (22%) indicated they are "not very concerned."

African American respondents are most concerned about COVID-19 with 86% indicating they are "very concerned" and an additional 10% reporting they are "somewhat concerned" for a total of 96%.

Support for using coronavirus recovery funds to help local small businesses is very high, with 59% strongly supporting and 28% somewhat supporting, totaling 87% support. Only 8% somewhat oppose and 2% strongly oppose.

A strong majority (62%) of respondents report the local government response to COVID-19 meets or exceeds their expectations, with 16% stating the local response exceeds their expectations and 46% reporting it meets their expectations. This compares favorably with attitudes about the federal response (46% meets or exceeds) and comparably with state response (68% meets or exceeds).

Significant concerns about the safety of local restaurants remain with 35% saying they feel "not at all" safe in dining out in restaurants.

More significant concerns about the safety of sports and entertainment venues and festivals remain, with 50% saying they feel "not at all" safe in going to sports or entertainment events.

African American respondents have the highest concerns with 58% feeling "not at all" safe in going to restaurants and 70% feeling "not at all safe" in going to sports or entertainment events.

These survey responses suggest significant work still needs to be done to improve compliance with best practices and to reassure citizens about the safety of local businesses and venues.

Additional survey questions provide information about attitudes regarding business reopening and staffing, receipt of federal assistance, most effective strategies to combat the virus, and top budget priorities in local government during a time of limited resources.

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