Despite several protests over California’s stay-at-home order to slow the spread of coronavirus, a new poll shows the vast majority of residents support the restrictions.
Among those polled, 75% want the order to continue as long as it’s needed, according to a California Health Care Foundation/Ipsos survey. Only 11% wanted to stop the stay-at-home order, while 13% had no opinion. Among low-income residents, support was even stronger: 78% support the stay-at-home order and only 3% oppose it.
The poll involved more than 1,000 interviews between April 17 and April 22 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
California was the first state to issue stay-at-home orders, and experts have said it has helped the state bend the coronavirus curve. California has seen far fewer coronavirus deaths than hot spots like New York and New Jersey, and hospitals have not been overwhelmed by patients.
Some communities have asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to begin lifting the restrictions. The governor has so far rejected those calls, saying it’s too soon and that reopening now could do lasting damage.
Newsom on Wednesday announced an expansion of coronavirus testing capability throughout California, saying the findings will be critical to deciding when to ease the stay-at-home order and allow people to return to work.
The Newsom administration last week highlighted six key indicators for altering the order. In addition to increased testing, they include acquiring the ability to prevent infection of high-risk people; preparing hospitals to handle surges; developing therapies to meet demand; ensuring schools, businesses and child-care facilities can support social distancing; and developing guidelines for when to ask Californians to stay home again if necessary.
“I deeply recognize, deeply understand the desire for people to hear directly from the administration, from the state and its leadership, about the answer to when, when can we go back to some semblance of normalcy,” Newsom said Wednesday.
“If we pull back too quickly, those numbers will go through the roof,” he warned. “And I don’t think any of the people, in their goodwill and the spirit in which they are wanting to loosen things up, want to see those numbers increase.”
Protesters have said it’s time to reopen the economy and ease the rules. But many medical experts and officials in California have said there could be grave repercussions to reopening businesses too early.
A new Associated Press poll found an overwhelming majority of Americans support the stay-at-home orders in place in most states, seeing them as helpful in combating the coronavirus outbreak.
Other polls show similar support. For example, a poll of 1,990 voters conducted by Politico/Morning Consult showed that 81% supported continuing social distancing for as long as needed. Only 10% supported ending social distancing to stimulate the economy.