Roughly three-quarters of West Michigan business executives and other professionals support a statewide mask mandate for indoor gatherings as well as another round of federal stimulus funding, according to a survey last week of nearly 400 MiBiz readers. Three out of four respondents to the reader poll also agreed that “the economy won’t fully recover until the virus is under control.”
MiBiz conducted the reader survey over three days from Nov. 17-19. It was emailed directly to 9,275 subscribers and also included in our daily morning newsletter. The survey, which was conducted using SurveyMonkey, received 384 responses and has a 5 percent margin of error.
Readers were asked nine questions about the COVID-19 pandemic, its effect on their company, and government policies to address the crisis. Among the findings with wide support:
• 73 percent “support a statewide mask mandate for all indoor gatherings in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
• 75 percent said federal lawmakers should approve another round of stimulus funding.
• 73 percent agreed with economists who say the economy won’t fully recover “until the virus is under control.”
Meanwhile, a majority of respondents (59 percent) said the federal government should not extend $600-per-week unemployment insurance benefits, but 58 percent saw “the need for a more coordinated federal response to the pandemic.”
“The unemployment benefit should be provided, just not $600 which seemed to disincentive [sic] workers as it provided more income that what they earned prior to the layoff. Everyone should get 75%, 80% (pick a number) of their pre-layoff income,” one reader wrote, a sentiment shared by others who saw hiring challenges.
Also, opinions on the Whitmer administration’s most recent restrictions on indoor dining, moving high school and colleges to virtual classes, and closing entertainment venues were nearly evenly split: 52 percent opposed, 48 percent in support, within the survey’s margin of error.
“Require masks, spacing and symptom testing but do not dictate which businesses can be open. All need a fair shot at being able to keep their business afloat during these hard times,” another reader wrote.
Readers were also asked to pick their top three measures that should be taken to help curb the spread of COVID-19. The top three results were: mask mandate, a “county by county approach to restrictions,” and “limit indoor gatherings.”
Fifty-seven percent of the respondents identified their position as CEO/CFO/COO/president or owner/partner. Another 35 percent identified as VP/general manager, department manager/director and sales/marketing/business development. More than half of the respondents (55 percent) were from Kent County. About a quarter of respondents were in the manufacturing industry, and one in five were in professional services.
The survey results are available here.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story contained a formatting error that removed the first digit from the percentages in the bullet point list. The error did not appear in the print version.