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Community survey shows impact of worldwide pandemic on LaGrange, Troup County

Georgia restaurants can start serving in dine-in customers Monday, but it appears most Troup County residents do not feel comfortable dining in right now.

More than four-fifths — 80.8 percent — of Troup County residents said they do not plan to dine-in at a restaurant in the next few weeks, according to an online survey conducted by The LaGrange Daily News. A total of 791 people had responded to the survey by press time, which is a little more than 1 percent of Troup County’s population.

There were 12 questions included in the survey, which did not ask for any identifying information. Only one of the 12 questions was required, asking if the respondent works or lives in Troup County. To deter anyone outside from Troup County from taking part, no option was given for a non-Troup County resident.

Here’s a closer look at the responses:

Background information

Do you live or work in Troup County?
Orange — I work and live in Troup County
Blue — I live in Troup County, work elsewhere
Red — I work in Troup County, live elsewhere

While the survey did not ask for any identifying information, it did ask for general information. Eighty-two percent of people who took the survey live and work in Troup County. About one-tenth of the responses, or 11.6 percent, came from people who live in Troup County but work elsewhere. A small portion, 6.3 percent, came from people who live elsewhere but work in Troup County.

Most of the responses to the survey were from people in the 40-59 age range. A total of 44.5 percent of responses came from that age range. Also, making up a large portion of the responses was the 19-39 age range, which was responsible for 39.3 percent of survey takers. Residents 60 and older represented 14.1 percent of the survey responses, and 2.2 percent of responses were from people 18 and younger.

Personal impact from COVID-19

Have you or your spouse (if applicable) lost their job or been furloughed during the COVID-19 crisis?
Red- No
Blue – Yes

According to the results, a little over one-fourth of survey takers have seen an impact on their income via less work. Survey takers were specifically asked if they or their spouse had lost their job or been furloughed during the COVID-19 crisis. A total of 28.5 percent of responses were “yes.” The majority of responses, or 71.5 percent, were no.

However, most people have had their job impacted in other ways. Most people who responded to the survey — or 33.4 percent — said they are not working. But survey takers who are working were split on how they are performing their job duties.

Most responses, or 28.5 percent, said that they were working from their office. However, 27.9 percent of people said they are working at home. One-tenth, or 10.2 percent, of the responses said they were splitting time between their home and office.  

Level of concern

It’s clear that the majority of people in Troup County have a lot of concern about COVID-19.

The survey asked respondents to describe their level of concern about the pandemic, and 44.1 percent of responses said they were extremely concerned. More than one-third, or 36.7 percent, said they were fairly concerned.

A smaller amount, 14.8 percent, said they were a little concerned. A total of 35 responses, or 4.4 percent, said they had no concern.

As expected, most of the people who responded to the survey did not have a family member diagnosed with COVID-19. A total of 55 responses said yes, which is 7 percent.

As of Friday morning, Troup County had 118 confirmed cases and four deaths, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Going out in public

Gov. Brian Kemp announced that restaurants can offer dining in services starting Monday. Do you plan to dine in at a restaurant in the next few weeks?
Red-No
Blue -Yes
Orange -Maybe

Not only did 80.8 percent of respondents say that they will not dine-in at a restaurant in the next few weeks — several others responded they weren’t sure. About one-tenth of the responses were “maybe” — 9.4 percent, to be exact — while 9.9 percent of those who took the survey said that they do plan to dine-in at a restaurant in the next few weeks.

Based on the survey, it appears the majority of Troup County residents are wearing a mask when they go out in public. Of the 791 responses, 60.7 percent said they are wearing a mask when going outside their home.

Government

Seventy percent said they disagree with Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to let the statewide shelter-in-place order expire at the end of April.

The survey also asked respondents to rank local government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in a one to ten ranking, with one being worst and ten being best. The survey did not ask specifically about local governments and instead grouped them together under this one question.

The average grade was 6.6. More than one-fifth of responses, or 20.3 percent, gave local governments a grade of 8. Seven was the second most popular response with 15.9 percent and 10 was the third most popular response at 12.8 percent. Nine was the fourth most popular response at 11.2 percent. A total of 104 responses gave local governments a one, two or three grade.

Future Outlook

Some of the final questions on the survey asked about moving forward.

With the information you know today, do you believe you will feel comfortable attending a sporting event, concert or similar event at some point in 2020?
Red-no
Blue -yes
Orange-maybe

Almost half of the survey takers, or 49.2 percent, said they do not believe they’ll feel comfortable attending a sporting event, concert or similar event at some point in 2020. A total of 28.3 percent of people responded “maybe,” and 22.5 percent said they would feel comfortable.

Most people, or 36 percent, who responded to the survey, believe that life will return to normal by the end of summer. The second most popular answer was “by the end of 2020,” with 27.9 percent of responses marking that answer. A fourth, or 25 percent, said they don’t see life returning to normal until sometime in 2021 or beyond.

A smaller number of answers, 11 percent, said they see life returning to normal in the next few weeks.