COVID-19 views of Long Islanders — January vs. now

Back in January, nextLI partnered with Siena College Research Institute to survey Long Islanders amid the pandemic, as numbers were climbing again in the post-holiday wave. There were several open-ended questions related to how the COVID-19 affected daily life and behavior, and respondents wrote in their answers.

We followed up with survey respondents two months later in March, with vaccines now more available and lower infection rates. Hover over the cards below to see what the LIers surveyed said then to our questions and what they are saying now.

Responses were chosen at random and are not necessarily from the same respondent.

Would you say that you plan to go to restaurants, bars or cafes less often downtown? For what reason?

  • “Depends on how restaurants handle seating.”
  • “I have changed my habits because the behavior of others is even more dangerous than before perceived. So I am socializing differently.”
  • “I find that bars and restaurants have been hit so hard they’ve had to increase prices.”
  • “I would say I’d go back to my normal routine after vaccination and the pandemic ends.”
  • “No, now that the virus has been controlled and we’re more knowledgeable about it. I feel safe going back to restaurants, bars etc…”
  • “No, I try to frequent downtown areas about the same as I did pre-COVID, though I go with smaller groups.”

Would you say that you plan to shop at local retailers less often downtown? For what reason?

  • “[Yes due to] online shopping and downsizing.”
  • “They are all closing.”
  • “I shop online more frequently now.”
  • “Many shops have changed or increased prices.”
  • “Stores closed up.”
  • “No, I plan to shop at local retailers more, never liked online shopping. I would rather go to the store in person after not going out so long.”
  • “I try to shop downtown as much as possible to support the mom and pop shops.”
  • “I do not plan on in-person shopping for the foreseeable future. I mainly use the internet for most items that aren’t food-related.”
  • “More often for the same reason as restaurants, bars, and cafes. We have not become on-line only consumers.”
  • “I will continue to shop locally more now because of the pandemic.”
  • “Yes, I do not plan on in-person shopping for the foreseeable future. I mainly use the internet for most items that aren’t food-related.”

Would you say that you plan to obtain services from village or government offices as well as from businesses including hair or nail salons or other service providers less often downtown? For what reason?

  • “Continue to do it from home.”
  • “Avoided these places due to COVID.”
  • “I’m afraid of getting the virus.”
  • “Significant pay cut for my family has changed our lifestyle.”
  • “Just don’t feel safe going there unless I have to.”
  • “Don’t want to bother wearing mask and being in a crowd.”
  • “No, I much rather go to these locations in person to find whatever I need.”
  • “I frequent those businesses less often because the occupancy restrictions make it more difficult to arrange appointments.”
  • “About the same as pre-COVID. Our habits regarding government and other businesses have not changed.
  • “Yes, I will only stay local!”
  • “Yes, I will look for alternatives when it comes to in-person encounters. I will use the internet, or change behavior to avoid unnecessary exposure to COVID.”

Would you say that you plan to go to entertainment venues including movies, music or theater less often downtown? For what reason?

  • “Nursing background has made me apprehensive about going to largely populated areas.”
  • “Not wanting to be out as much and more selective with where I go.”
  • “Lessening chance of getting sick.”
  • “Not putting self in situation around a lot of people.”
  • “Concerned about safety protocol.”
  • “With COVID, I plan to continue being safe whether things are deemed safe.”
  • “Nervous being around so many people.”
  • “Not now but I plan to go to entertainment venues in the future.”
  • “Will probably go more post-pandemic, but eventually level off to what I was!”
  • “No, actually, I’m excited to go out and socialize again once it becomes safe for everyone.”
  • “I am concerned about the requirement for a vaccination passport. I am unopposed to the vaccine, but the passport is government overreach, and its requirement at these venues is a deal-breaker for me.”
  • “Yes, I would not go where big crowds are.”

Would you say that you plan to visit people that live downtown less often? For what reason?

  • “Scared of catching virus.”
  • “Fear of spreading or catching the virus.”
  • “Social distancing.”
  • “A lot of people have died due to the virus.”
  • “Being COVID safe.”
  • “I will visit people with no restrictions.”
  • “I would visit friends and others at the same levels as I was doing pre-pandemic.”
  • “I genuinely want to believe that going outside again can feel safe and normal.”
  • “Yes, also our downtown has businesses that didn’t make it.”
  • “We will visit people more often. Our habits will revert to pre-COVID.”

What is the reason you do not plan to get the vaccine?

  • “Never been vaccinated for anything else.”
  • “Perfectly fine so far [as a] young person.”
  • “Vaccines are not needed for a disease with a high survival rate.”
  • “Would like to see some long-term effects first.”
  • “Not enough data on long-term effects.”
  • “I’d like to wait to see what happens with family members who’ve had it.”
  • “New mutation that could make the vaccine not effective.”
  • “I’ll wait a bit.”
  • “I have had both doses of the vaccine over a month ago.”
  • “I’m definitely taking the vaccine. Wish I could get it sooner!”
  • “Not taking it do not trust it.”
  • “Schedule for May 22 but will try to get it sooner if they will take me.”
  • “As of April 2, both my wife and I will have received both doses of the vaccine.”
  • “I do not trust it nor the government. I feel it is too quick. The whole thing is scary!”