Updated March 8, 2021 - 3:25 pm
Many Nevadans are still hesitant to attend large gatherings — especially those indoors — one year after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a recent survey.
Fewer than 4 in 10 respondents said they’d be comfortable attending live indoor sporting events and concerts, but more than half said they would attend the events if they were outside.
The results come in just as Nevada is easing its restrictions on large events. Venues eligible for large gatherings are now capped at 20 percent of total fixed seated capacity, and mitigation management is set to return to local control on May 1.
“(The poll results) reflect a continued caution. The people aren’t going to jump back to it immediately, but they want to go out,” said economist Jeremy Aguero, a principal analyst for Applied Analysis. “They want that type of interaction, and I think there’s a substantial amount of pent-up demand associated with that. … I think people are tired of operating under COVID-19.”
The Nevada Poll surveyed 500 likely voters across the state by phone and online from Feb. 26 to March 1, with a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.
Fifty-five percent said they would be comfortable attending an outdoor concert given the current situation with the pandemic, compared with 36 percent who said they’d be comfortable watching a concert indoors. About 4 in 10 were comfortable attending a show on the Las Vegas Strip.
Those surveyed were more open to outdoor sporting events versus those indoors: 54 percent to 39 percent, respectively.
Dan Ladik, an associate professor of marketing at Seton Hall University and the methodologist for the Seton Hall Sports Poll, said the results are in line with polling the university has conducted in recent months.
The Review-Journal’s poll found 39 percent of respondents would not be comfortable attending a live outdoor sporting event. A January poll from Seton Hall shows 41 percent of the more than 1,500 surveyed said they would not attend such an event, down from 58 percent in a similar poll from November.
“We’re asking questions from different sources of different populations, and these numbers are in the ballpark of each other,” Ladik said. “People are getting more comfortable with the idea of going to indoor and outdoor sporting events.”
Other indoor activities in the Review-Journal’s survey had markedly higher approval ratings.
Fifty-eight percent were comfortable sending kids back to school. Sixty-six percent said they were OK eating at a restaurant. Meanwhile, fewer than half said they were comfortable flying on an airplane.
“Folks are just fatigued. I think they’re tired of living in a quarantine shutdown,” Aguero said. “They want to get out and go do those things.”
Aguero said he expects Nevadans’ comfort levels to improve, but it’ll take time.
“The recovery is not going to happen overnight,” he said. But “what the poll suggests to me is that consumers have optimism, that they really are looking forward to getting back to some kind of normalcy. While they’re not all ready to be there, an increasing number of them are. And I think that bodes very, very well for us as a state.”
The pandemic caused Nevada’s economy to tumble last year, with unemployment rates jumping as high as 30 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Review-Journal’s survey found many Nevadans are still concerned about the economic recovery. Twenty-seven percent cited the economy as their top pandemic-related concern, and another 27 percent said they were most concerned about their personal health.
Seventeen percent of poll participants said community spread or containment was their top concern. Other concerns included education challenges for local children at 13 percent, employment and job security at 8 percent and losing a home or apartment at 3 percent.
The crosstabs attached to a previous version of this story had a typographical error in the age breakdown of poll participants. The error has been corrected in the current crosstabs.