Chamber Survey: Kansans Ready To Reopen; Concerned About Economy



Topeka, KAN. – A survey released by the Kansas Chamber Tuesday found Kansans are ready to reopen the state’s economy and are concerned about the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 health crisis.

“Our country faces both a health crisis and an economic crisis. Our survey found, after several months of government-issued orders that closed or restricted businesses and forced tens of thousands in our state out of work, Kansans are clearly ready to get back to business,” said Kansas President and CEO Alan Cobb.

When asked to choose between tightening restrictions on business or loosening them, 77% say it is time to proceed with loosening restrictions. The overwhelming support to loosen restrictions was across political lines and age groups.

“The support to loosen restrictions is strong because growing consumer confidence in the state’s business community. Businesses have shown they are committed to reopening and expanding their operations safely and with the well-being of their employees and customers top of mind,” Cobb said.

Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates of Oklahoma City (CHS) President Pat McFerron, a native Kansan who supervised the polling and has conducted more than 150 Kansas surveys during the last two decades, said also supporting the desire to reopen the economy is the fact a majority of Kansans are more concerned about the economic damage associated with COVID-19 than the health risk.

“However, the eagerness to allow businesses to operate is not an indication voters are taking the pandemic lightly,” McFerron said. “When asked to participate in a variety of activities, ranging from eating at a restaurant to attending church or a sporting event, we do see some hesitation.”

  • While 43% of Kansas voters expect to eat at a restaurant within the next month, 22% indicate it will be more than three months before they do so.
  • There is greater reluctance to attend a sporting event. Only 29% say they would do so within the next month and 40% say it will be at least three months.

“Despite the personal hesitation, Kansans still want businesses to open and economic activity to begin,” McFerron said.

Cobb said the Chamber and its members welcomed Governor Laura Kelly’s announcement she will move the state into Phase Two of her plan to loosen COVID-19 restrictions, five days after she delayed the move.

“Kansas successfully flattened the curve to protect our health care system. It was confusing as to why a delay of Phase Two was necessary,” Cobb said. “The Chamber will continue to advocate for additional restrictions to be loosened or eliminated based on the original objectives, especially for businesses still restricted from fully operating or from opening their doors. More long-term damage will be done to the Kansas economy the longer governments refuse to allow all businesses to fully operate.”

CHS surveyed 500 Kansas registered voters, using live agents on landline and mobile phones as well as through text-to-web interfaces from May 13-15, 2020. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.3%.


Click here to read the survey of Kansas voters.


For more information, contact Sherriene Jones-Sontag.

Posted May 19, 2020

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