Most Chattanoogans are not ready to return to restaurant dining rooms despite getting the OK for inside dining this week from Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger, according to a Times Free Press online survey.
Among 1,083 persons who responded to the online poll this week, more than 80% said they don't plan to dine-in at local restaurant, at least so far.
Almost 98% of the respondents plan to continue social distancing even after businesses reopen. Almost an equal number, 95.7 % of the people who replied have not been tested for COVID-19.
In the informal survey, 77.1% of the voters said they felt that reopening businesses now will lead to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, while 10.1% said that they did not think it would, and 12.8% said they did not know.
Myra Williams, 53, does the majority of the shopping in her household and says she keeps a mask in her car and wears it when she goes out. She has a friend who spent three weeks fighting the virus, "so it is real to me."
"I'm concerned about people who aren't taking this seriously."
She said she is waiting to hear from the experts, like presidential advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, and government leaders like Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, about "when it is safe and the number of cases go down and the curve flattens," before she goes out to eat in a restaurant dining room.
"I understand about people needing to go back to work. I really, really do, but I just want to be safe."