More than half of Americans say they feel comfortable dining indoors

New York City indoor dining

Now that COVID-19 vaccine accessibility is at an all-time high, the majority of Americans are finally ready to eat indoors at restaurants, new polling shows.

Morning Consult has tracked public sentiments about daily life during the pandemic since March 2020. As of April 25, approximately 57% of respondents said they felt comfortable eating indoors compared to the 68% of people who said they felt safe eating outdoors at a restaurant.

Screen Shot 2021 04 28 at 12.30.55 PM

But indoor dining is still one of the riskiest activities to partake in with the coronavirus still spreading. Dr. Anthony Fauci told Insider’s Aylin Woodward that after he got vaccinated, he would still be avoiding “an indoor, crowded place where people are not wearing masks,” such as bars and restaurants.

While the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed outdoor mask guidance for fully vaccinated people, the agency still recommends everyone wear masks inside restaurants and bars.

The COVID-19 pandemic devastated the restaurant industry as state and local governments set restrictions against indoor dining to prevent the airborne transmission of the virus.

A report from the National Restaurant Association said that more than 110,000 restaurants and bars closed either temporarily or for good in 2020 from the pandemic. The report also noted that restaurants brought in $240 billion less than what the National Restaurant Association predicted pre-pandemic.

As of April 28, every state allows for some form of indoor dining, but at least 30 states still have some restrictions in place regarding restaurant capacity or party numbers.

With indoor dining restrictions relaxed, many restaurants – especially chains – are struggling to hire enough workers. Some business owners claim that the congressionally granted $300 weekly boost in federal unemployment benefits has made it more difficult to employ workers, though some experts are suggesting that the problem is easily solved by simply paying the workers more.

President Joe Biden announced in early April that every American adult would be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine by April 19. Before coming into office, the president said his goal was to ensure 100 million Americans received a dose of the vaccine in his first 100 days – a goal that was surpassed on March 19.

Biden later pushed the goal to 200 million vaccine doses administered by his 100th day, April 30. According to the CDC, more than 232 million vaccine doses have been administered as of April 28, meaning 30% of the total population is fully vaccinated and 43% have received at least one dose.

Kate Taylor contributed reporting.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Half of Americans want a major overhaul to the US economy, Pew says

NYSE Wall Street coronavirus
  • Half of Americans believe the US economy needs “major changes” or to be “completely reformed.”
  • People largely backed job training but were less supportive of universal basic income, Pew said.
  • Support for economic reform was far more common among liberals than conservatives, Pew added.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As the US enters a new normal, half of its population is ready for an economy that’s starkly different from that which came before.

About 40% of surveyed Americans believe the economy “needs major changes” as it emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Pew Research report published Thursday. One in 10 Americans said they saw a need for the country’s economic systems to be “completely reformed.”

PEW
Source: Pew Research Center

Conversely, only 12% of the US sees no need for economic change. Roughly 38% said the country’s economy needs only “minor” changes.

Pew conducted a survey across the US, UK, France, and Germany from November 10 to December 23. More than 4,000 adults across the four countries responded.

When asked which potential economic policies should be instituted, three-quarters of surveyed Americans said it’s “very important” that the government provide more job and skills training for workers. Nearly half of respondents deemed an increase of government benefits to the poor as “very important,” and 44% said it’s critical the government contribute to affordable housing.

About 45% said it’s very important for lawmakers to lift taxes on the wealthy. President Joe Biden proposed such tax hikes to cover the costs of his upcoming American Families Plan, which includes funds for universal pre-K, paid family and medical leave, and an extended child tax credit. The White House has said it won’t lift taxes on households earning less than $400,000 per year.

Only 31% of Americans characterized universal basic income as “very important,” making it the least supported of the five potential policies. Still, that marks a shift from discussions a decade ago, when universal basic income lingered on the fringes of progressive economic policy.

Support for economic reform was far more common among left-leaning respondents. More than three-quarters of US adults on the left said the country needs a complete overhaul or major changes, according to Pew. That compares to just 32% of right-leaning respondents and 46% from moderates.

Support of stricter government regulation received a more mixed response. Half of surveyed Americans said it’s generally bad for society if the government regulates business, while 46% said such regulation is good. That differs from responses in Europe, where the majority of residents in the UK, France, and Germany supported business regulation.

Even if major economic changes remain years away, Americans are largely optimistic as the country rebounds. Roughly 78% of US respondents said they have either “somewhat good” or “very good” chances at improving their standard of living. Only 7% said they have “very bad” chances, and 11% said their odds are “somewhat bad.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

American voters overwhelmingly like the stuff the GOP wants to strip out of Biden’s infrastructure plan

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden.

  • A CNBC poll found that just 36% of voters support Biden’s infrastructure plan as is.
  • But most supported funding for nontraditional infrastructure measures, like caregiving and climate.
  • The GOP argues that anything unrelated to physical infrastructure doesn’t belong, but voters seem to disagree.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden unveiled his $2.3 trillion infrastructure package two weeks ago, and a CNBC survey found overwhelming support for it, but only parts of it. That’s where it gets interesting.

According to a CNBC survey released on Thursday, just 36% of Americans supported Biden’s infrastructure plan as he presented it – only three percentage points higher than those who oppose the plan, at 33%. This is about half the level of support that Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan received in similar polling in March.

Since Biden unveiled the plan, Republican lawmakers have attacked his definition of infrastructure, saying that a new bill should focus on physical infrastructure, like roads and brides, and should exclude measures related to the care economy like universal pre-K, as well as things like climate change initiatives. Senate Republicans are drafting a bill focused on roads and bridges, Insider’s Joseph Zeballos-Roig reported.

The CNBC poll illustrates the catch for Republicans: the nontraditional aspects of Biden’s plan are very popular. This could prove pivotal for its future, as the White House has stressed that its definition of bipartisanship doesn’t focus just on what Republican politicians favor, but on what Republican voters favor as well.

The poll noted that a “31% slice of the public say they don’t know enough to venture an opinion, suggesting an opportunity for each political party to make headway.”

Despite the majority of respondents opposing the president’s plan, an overwhelming majority supported specific funding proposals within the plan.

Of the following four main findings, three are measures the GOP has argued for excluding from the bill:

  • 87% of the public backed fixing roads and bridges;
  • 82% of the public supported increasing pay for elderly caregivers;
  • 78% of the public supported expanding high-speed broadband;
  • And 70% of the public supported fixing the electrical grid and making buildings and homes more energy efficient.

The poll also found that 50% of respondents supported raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% to pay for the plan. When asked about corporate tax hikes generally, 46% said it was a bad idea because it would raise wages and cost jobs, while 43% said corporate tax hikes should be raised to pay for infrastructure because companies “do not pay their fair share.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement that while Biden could have drafted a “serious, targeted infrastructure plan” that would have received bipartisan support, “the latest liberal wish-list the White House has decided to label ‘infrastructure’ is a major missed opportunity by this Administration.”

And South Dakota’s Republican governor, Kristi Noem, said during a Fox News interview in early April that she was “shocked” and at how little of Biden’s plan relates to infrastructure, although her comments indicated that she is unclear on what constitutes physical infrastructure.

“It goes into research and development, it goes into housing and pipes and different initiatives, green energy, and it’s not really an honest conversation that we’re having about what this proposal is,” Noem said.

John Bolten, chief executive officer of Business Roundtable, which represents CEOs of the largest US companies, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV that the organization wants Biden to limit the scope of the package to mainly address roads and bridges and “leave the rest of the stuff for something else.”

He added, though, that “more modern infrastructure” also needs investment, citing broadband as an example.

Biden’s Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors Cecilia Rouse said on April 3 that America needs an upgraded definition of infrastructure to meet “the needs of a 21st-century economy.”

A New York Times poll released on Thursday found that 64% of voters approve of Biden’s infrastructure plan, 84% of voters support rebuilding roads and bridges, and 78% support expanded broadband.

Read the original article on Business Insider

44% of Americans feel comfortable socializing in public, a high since the beginning of the pandemic

GettyImages 1310183466
With the buildings of downtown Long Beach as a backdrop, beach goers lay on the sand just north of the Huntington Beach Pier in Huntington Beach, as summer-like temperatures reached nearly 90 degrees inland and thousands of people flocked to the beach on Wednesday, March 31, 2021.

  • Americans are feeling increasingly comfortable socializing in public spaces, a new poll found.
  • Morning Consult’s survey showed 44% of US adults feel safe enough to meet with friends in public.
  • The comfort level has increased 63% since January as more Americans are vaccinated.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As COVID-19 vaccines have become more readily accessible to Americans, US adults are feeling increasingly comfortable socializing in public places, according to recent polling from Morning Consult.

Morning Consult has tracked public sentiments about daily life amid the pandemic since March 2020. As of April 12, approximately 44% of American adults said they wouldn’t mind congregating with friends in social settings – a 63% increase since the beginning of January when it was at just 27%.

The survey interviewed 2,200 people and includes a 2% overall margin of error in its results.

Morning consult socialization poll

Of all participants in Morning Consult’s survey, people born in Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2012) and Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980) said they felt the most comfortable socializing in public at 50% and 51% respectively.

Nearly 23% of the US population have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and nearly 37% have received at least one dose, a rapidly growing proportion as more than 3 million Americans receive a dose of the vaccine each day. The vaccination rate may decrease slightly in the coming days since authorities paused the use of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Tuesday to investigate after six people who got the shot – out of 7.2 million – developed blood clots.

The COVID-19 pandemic halted nearly all social events in the US, leading to closed restaurants, shuttered schools, and decreased travel. Insider previously reported polling of the numerous ways that the ongoing pandemic has affected American decision-making during the holiday season, presidential voting, and more.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Insider’s Aylin Woodward that he still plans on avoiding restaurants and travel despite being fully vaccinated. He said that if Americans avoid crowds for a little longer, then the country may avoid another surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

“If we could just hold on for a while,” Fauci said, “we’ll reach a point where the protection of the general community by the vaccine would really make it very unlikely that we’re going to have another surge.”

Read the original article on Business Insider