By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming residents have become increasingly more comfortable with attending outdoor public events and less concerned about the spread of the coronavirus, but are still wearing face coverings inside indoor public places.
These were just a few of the findings in a recent survey conducted by the University of Wyoming’s Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center. The survey was conducted Sept. 8, about a week before the state saw coronavirus cases spike.
The survey is the eighth conducted by WYSAC to measure public opinion on a number of topics related to the coronavirus. A total of 503 Wyoming residents representing all Wyoming counties participated in the latest survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
Just a third of those surveyed, 30.4%, feel very or fairly anxious about the spread of the coronavirus in the state, down 11.3% from the Aug. 10 survey. Those who are very or somewhat worried someone in their immediate family might catch the virus dropped 8.6 points to 51%.
More than half of the surveyed Wyomingites, 54%, felt extremely or somewhat comfortable attending an outdoor public events with groups of up to 250 people; 52% of the responses said they felt comfortable attending an outdoor event with more than 250 people.
Those percentages increased by 8 and 9 points, respectively, from Aug. 10.
The percentages of people who support government policies to slow the spread of the coronavirus decreased across the board.
Only 28.5% supported closing K-12 schools, down 4.4% from last month; 26.4% of respondents supported closing day care centers, down 5% from August; the same percentage supported closing restaurants and bars, down 6.5% from last month; and 19.9% of surveyed responders supported shelter-in-place orders, down 1.6% from the previous month.
Only a slight majority, 51%, supported state limits on public gatherings, down 7.7% from August.
The majority, 52%, still supports local ordinances requiring people to wear face protection in indoor public places, down from 60% in August; 62% of surveyed Wyomingites say they always or often wear face protection in indoor public spaces, down 4% from last month and higher than the 48% figure in mid-July.
“It is clear from these numbers that the level of discomfort and concern about COVID-19 declined between Aug. 10 and Sept. 8, but people are still doing things to avoid the virus — such as wearing face protection, eating out less and washing their hands more frequently,” said Brian Harnisch, senior research scientist in charge of the project at WYSAC, in a release. “Still, it’s worth noting that the percentages of people taking those actions have declined.”