Comfort Levels for Everyday Activities During the Pandemic

Last fall, we reported the results of our survey on attitudes related to the coronavirus pandemic from 295 jury-eligible California residents. One aspect of the survey examined how comfortable people were with doing some everyday activities during the pandemic. In our most recent nationwide survey on antitrust issues, social media, and data privacy, we revisited the question about what people are comfortable doing at this stage of the pandemic. We found there was some improvement in comfortability with all the activities of interest from 2020 to 2021. We made multiple comparisons of the data listed below.

Change in Comfort Levels for Californians

The chart below shows levels of comfort with the activities in which we were interested from respondents in California in Fall 2020 (n = 295) compared to respondents in California in Spring 2021. On a scale of 1 to 10, levels of comfort rose in all but one category: “going to a friend or family member’s house.” The activity that people were most comfortable with on both surveys was “going to the grocery store.” It had an average rating of 6.5 out of 10 in 2020 and 6.9 in 2021.

The second most comfortable activity was “going to a friend or family member’s home,” with a rating of 5.8 on both surveys. The order of comfort level with the remaining activities was, “going to a government office,” “eating at a restaurant indoors,” and “having your children attend school or daycare.” In our Fall 2020 survey, participants were least comfortable with “serving as a juror in court,” with a rating of 4 out of 10. However, this activity showed the sharpest improvement for California residents in the Spring 2021 survey, going from 4 to 4.9. That 4.9 is better than the 2021 ratings (California) for “eating indoors,” (4.8) and “having your children attend school or daycare” (4.6).

Comparing Comfort Levels for USA and California

We also compared the Spring 2021 findings for California versus the Spring 2021 findings for the rest of the U.S. The levels of comfort with all of the activities for Californians were lower than what we observed for the rest of the U.S. As with the findings from the 2020 data, “going to the grocery store” was the activity with which Americans are most comfortable (7.3 out of 10). After grocery shopping was “going to a friend or family member’s home,” “going to a government office,” “eating indoors,” “having your children attend school or daycare,” and the activity that participants are least comfortable with: “serving as a juror in court.” Notably, the participants in the nationwide sample had the same level of comfort with sending their kids to school as they did with eating at a restaurant indoors (5.6).

Takeaways from these findings are:

1) Californians, overall, are less comfortable with each of the activities than people from the national sample

2) People are becoming more comfortable with engaging in these public and sometimes private activities as we come closer to ending the pandemic.

These levels will continue to rise as more vaccinations are administered. It will be interesting to see if comfort levels between activities will level off. Will we soon be as comfortable with eating at a restaurant indoors as we will be with going to the grocery store or going to a government office? Here’s hoping.

See the chart below for a look at data from all three groups of respondents mentioned herein.