COVID-19 Analysis Part 5: Survey on Safety Perceptions

As the coronavirus spreads throughout the country and people are becoming more aware of safety and sanitation best practices, we wanted to find out what would make Americans feel safer when they visit retailers or restaurants.

Last week, we compiled results from our survey on how people are changing their behavior in response to the pandemic.

1. Demonstrating Safety/Sanitation at Retailers

Many retailers nationwide have been closed down as "nonessential services" or simply due to lack of visits that sustain the business. But for those that remain open, sanitation is incredibly important to consumers.

We surveyed our panel and asked what would make them feel safer about shopping at retail stores. The following is a summary of our open response answers.


There was significant consensus that people would feel safer if they knew about staff wearing disposable gloves, availability of hand sanitizer, and sick employees staying home.

Clear communication of safety protocols like covering their mouth when they cough, minimizing the amount of touching, and signage throughout the store are also value-adds to customers.


2. Demonstrating Safety/Sanitation at Restaurants

Preparation of most restaurant foods takes place "behind the scenes," but consumers would be more comfortable if they had more visibility into and awareness of the food preparation process.

The following is a summary of our open response survey answers on what would make people feel safer about visiting restaurants.


Again, the use of disposable gloves and sanitizing wipes were a key practice that people asked for. Social distancing within dining rooms was also asked for, although those responses were collected before the several statewide bans on dine-in restaurant visits. Now that many restaurants are restricted to take-out and delivery only, they need to make doubly sure that they provide high visibility and communication to their customers around how food is prepared, how staff are maintaining sanitation, and ensuring that sick employees don't go to work.

While it's likely that many restaurants and retailers that remain open are already implementing more cleaning and sanitation protocols, our survey results show that they can reassure their customers by providing clear communication and high visibility around your sanitation protocols.