Exclusive poll: Most New Yorkers say life will never be the same after COVID-19


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — As people across the state continue to deal with the impacts of COVID-19, returning to normalcy is something on everyone’s minds. Returning to normalcy after a pandemic can mean something different to everyone.

News 8 teamed up with Emerson College to ask New Yorkers some questions about the COVID-19 crisis. Spencer Kimball is the director of polling at Emerson College. He said returning to normal could mean getting back to work, school, or removing precautions while grocery shopping. But there’s one common link- most everyone shares.

“I think the biggest normalcy would be actually interacting with other people. We’ve seen about 40 percent of the population say in the last week that they’ve felt socially isolated,” said Kimball.

In New York State, 46.3 percent of people said life will return to normal. 53.7 percent said it will never be the same.

In Monroe County, those numbers are very close, but flipped. 52.9 percent of people said life will return to normal, while 47.1 percent said it will never be the same.

Part of the possible return to normalcy is non-essential businesses reopening. 16.2 percent of New Yorkers said they should reopen between April 15 and 30, 28.2 percent said between May 1 and May 15, and 33.8 percent said after May 16.

Rochester Chamber of Commerce president, Bob Duffy said he thinks businesses will stay closed past May 16 and likely into June.

“I know what people want, we want to open up tomorrow. It’s not realistic. We’re going to stay in this situation until it is safe and one thing we have to understand is the virus does not take the summer off,” Duffy said.

He said there could be an upstate-downstate divide here, but the governor separating the two when it comes to protocol isn’t as easy as people may think.

“I’m a huge proponent for upstate New York but if he were to all of a sudden relax things say in our region and keep them strict downstate and all of sudden the tide turned where we’d be seeing huge spikes up here, he would be highly criticized for that,” Duffy said.

Until this is over, Duffy said there are ways people can stimulate the economy.

“Support where you can support- restaurants, takeout ,delivery, support them. Maybe as opposed to going on Amazon and ordering something, drive a couple miles down the road and buy it at a company here especially one that supports families from Rochester and our region.”

Duffy also commented on the ‘return to normalcy’ question- and said he’s somewhere in the middle. He said he thinks many things will go back to normal, but a lot of what we’re doing now will become habit. He said some of the things we’re doing with technology during this time could be a snapshot of how things could be in the future.

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