NEW YORK — As New York begins to emerge from the pandemic, there’s little doubt that a functioning transit system is essential to the city’s recovery.
The problem is, New Yorkers aren’t comfortable using it — and that unease has only grown in recent weeks, according to the our latest Spectrum News NY1/Ipsos poll. The poll also found New Yorkers more eager to participate in other aspects of city life, but not yet ready to completely ditch their masks.
What You Need To Know
- Only 42% of New Yorkers say they feel comfortable taking the subway or bus right now
- That number is down from our last poll in April, when 50% said they were comfortable taking mass transit
- 63% say they’d be comfortable dining indoors at a restaurant once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted
- Only 37% said they’d be comfortable not wearing a mask in a public indoor space
The subways have been plagued by a spate of violent crimes in recent weeks, which has not only touched off finger-pointing between the city and the MTA, but also appears to be scaring away riders. Well under half of New Yorkers, 42%, agree they feel comfortable taking the subway or bus right now, while 50% disagreed.
That 42% figure is down from our last poll in April, when 50% felt comfortable on mass transit.
“People are generally a little bit hesitant,” said Ipsos research director Mallory Newall, “and they’re starting to think a bit more about their safety and what it means for their daily life.”
Meanwhile, almost two thirds of New Yorkers, 63%, say they’d be comfortable dining indoors at a restaurant once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday the state will lift all restrictions on restaurants and other businesses once the vaccination rate hits 70%.
Among parents of school-age children, 59% would feel comfortable sending their kids to school once restrictions are lifted. Mayor Bill de Blasio has already announced city schools will resume full in-person learning in the fall.
Broadway shows will also return in the fall, but less than half of New Yorkers, 46%, would be comfortable attending a Broadway show, according to our poll.
And even as the infection rate plummets and the vaccination rate rises, New Yorkers plan to continue exercising caution. Only 37% said they’re ready to go maskless in an indoor public space.
“The concerns about crowds, prolonged activities indoors, and doing so without a mask, I think it’s still a bridge too far for many people,” Newall said.
The NY1/Ipsos poll has a credibility interval of +/- 2.4 percentage points.
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