Foley Main Street reveals COVID-19 survey results

PHOTO: Rob Barnas, the owner of Island Air, is presented with the prize of $200 in downtown Foley restaurant gift certificates by Foley Main Street President Chad Watkins of WAS Designs. Barnas was randomly selected as the winner for participating in the Main Street survey.

By Jessica Vaughn  Gulf Coast News Today  FOLEY - Earlier this year, Foley Main Street, with the help of the Gateway Initiative, sent out a survey supplied by Main Street America to gather information from residents and consumers. The survey focused on consumers’ reactions and change of habits concerning supporting local businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The survey questioned consumers on a variety of different topics. These included questions concerning what would make shoppers feel more comfortable going into local businesses, how their shopping habits changed during the stay at home order, and how their habits changed again after the order had been lifted and businesses reopened.

According to the survey, 72% who answered were female, with 70% between the ages of 35 - 64 and 20% aged 65 or up. Of those who responded, 57% were employed fulltime, and 25% were retired.

The first question posed was, “As the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis proceeds, how long did/will you wait before dining out?” Responses were fairly split down the middle, with 48.2% answering either “I dined out as soon as local restaurants reopened” or “I waited a few days after local restaurants reopened to dine out again.”

From the looks of the survey, curbside options were a big hit with consumers, as 51% responded they would like to see the option continue as the COVID recovery continues.

Another widely agreed-upon statement was the opinion of wanting businesses to follow health and safety guidelines set forth by the state. According to some consumers, they would not return to a restaurant if the servers were not wearing masks, while many expressed their desire to see hand sanitizer offered upon entry to local establishments.

“It was heartening to find that most respondents want to support local businesses,” said Foley Main Street Director Darrelyn Dunmore. “The largest groups chose that during, and now after, the stay at home orders, they would prefer to shop in person and support local merchants. There were 39 comments on this topic.”

Participant answers and suggestions included, “I shop online only for items or brands I can't buy locally,” and, “I think if local retailers could figure out a way to do online shopping, they may be very successful not only because of COVID-19 but because it is the way of the future. Many young people only shop online.”

On the topic of online shopping, 33.6% of responders answered they would be somewhat likely to use online shopping through local merchants if they offered the service instead of shopping online through big box retailers. Another 27.7% responded they would be very likely to use the service if it were offered.

The complete survey results can be viewed at,95211?

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