As more and more businesses open for business following the COVID-19 shutdowns, one question that comes up is about consumers’ willingness to go back to normal interaction with the businesses. A recent survey commissioned by Salt Lake County asked customers what actions would make them more confident in engaging with retailers and other businesses opening up.

In mid-May, the survey found that 70 percent of residents were concerned that restrictions were being lifted too quickly which translated into limited participation in leisure activities and with non-essential business. More than two-thirds of respondents hadn’t dined in a restaurant, gone to a gym or visited a salon yet. Those are businesses that were most directly impacted by the health orders but are slowly reopening.

A high number of those surveyed — 81 percent — said they were more likely to visit a business if those businesses were following local health and safety guidelines. When asked what local businesses could do to increase shoppers’ safety, many were in favor of sanitization. Respondents emphatically said they would feel much more or somewhat more comfortable if businesses sanitized high-touch surfaces regularly, provided sanitizer in prominent locations, encouraged and maintained social distancing between customers, provided minimal contact and pick-up options and required daily symptom checks for employees.

“This data is critical for businesses,” said Dina Blaes, director of the county’s Office of Regional Development. “It includes what they need to encourage consumers to engage with them. If, for example, requiring employees to wear a mask will be safer and allay customers’ concerns, look at the data. Perhaps the most striking information from the survey is consumers remain mindful of public health issues and are watching what measures businesses are taking to address the concerns.”

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