More Than 50% of Arizonans Feel It’s Too Soon to Reopen Economy

Arizonans reopen economy

Old Town Scottsdale bar patrons on reopening weekend in Scottsdale (Photo by Jake Hines)

By Brandy Rae Ramirez

May 18, 2020

While some Arizonans are ready to reopen the economy during the pandemic, a new poll and several business owners feel it’s too soon.

This weekend, Arizonans flocked to restaurants, lakes, parks, hiking trails, salons, gyms, barbershops, and some retailers as restrictions lifted on the state’s stay-at-home order. Although some people feel it’s necessary and GOP lawmakers are pushing the economy over health, a new poll and several business owners are concerned about the state reopening too soon.

A new poll released Monday by OH Predictive Insights found that as Gov. Doug Ducey continues to allow businesses in the state to open their doors, many Arizonans are still wary about returning to a pre-COVID-19 life. 

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According to OH Predictive Insights’ monthly Arizona Public Opinion Pulse of 600 likely Arizona voters in the 2020 election, 52% of respondents said the state is reopening too soon. Only 32% said reopening is going too slow.

“While the government has given the green light to reopen businesses, a majority of Arizona voters are idling at a flashing red light,” said OH Predictive Insights’ chief pollster Mike Noble in the poll’s analysis. “More than 60% of voters are still extremely or moderately concerned about the spread of the coronavirus in Arizona.”

The poll, conducted from May 9 – 11, identified high concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19, but concerns are lower now than in April.

Currently, the share of voters who said they were “Extremely” or “Moderately” concerned about the spread of the coronavirus in Arizona is nine points lower at 61% compared to April when it was 70%.

Opening too soon is not just a worry for some Arizonans, but also business owners. After Gov. Ducey announced lifting the stay-at-home order, several businesses joined together to send a statement to him through a letter published on TooSoonArizona.

The letter, that now has 398 signatures, including that of Barrio Café’s Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza, stated, “We feel proceeding incautiously with the reopening of businesses will worsen human suffering in our communities and prolong the negative impact this pandemic is having on small businesses & the economy. We await guidance from credible epidemiological experts & researchers for a reopen that is safe for our customers and staff.”

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With some Arizonans choosing to adhere to social distancing guidelines and others not, some businesses have cause for concern as experts have emphasized that behavior will determine the outcome of cases.

Family owners of the renowned Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe in Phoenix, a soul food restaurant that has served generations of Arizonans since 1964, said they will open their doors when big businesses like Disneyland reopen.

Larry White Sr. said this pandemic has taken over everything and is like nothing he has seen in his life. 

“Only God can straighten this thing up…I ain’t gonna open up until Disneyland opens up,” he said. 

He added that his goal is to protect his family – especially his daughter and his grandchildren.

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