Nearly two-thirds of Hawaii residents surveyed by a Hawaii market research firm believe the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is going in the right direction.

SMS Consulting, a Honolulu database marketing firm, collected 402 responses to a survey that asked residents about their reactions to state closures, whether they’d be inclined to visit certain businesses with the gradual lifting of a state shutdown order and their own personal situations during this time.

A majority of those surveyed said they’d like to see social distancing of at least 6 feet continue for another two months. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

Based on the results, 37% said they’d like to see beaches and parks opened to unlimited activity; 31% wanted to see more businesses reopened.

But most favored keeping certain policies in place for two months or longer, such as social distancing of 6 feet (65%); discouraging tourists from visiting (61%); prohibiting large group gatherings (61%); disallowing team sports (60%) and keeping the schools and universities closed (54%).

The majority of those surveyed also said they’d take a “wait and see” approach when it came to re-patronizing certain businesses like sit-down restaurants (75%), shopping centers (69%), movie theaters (67%) or large sporting events (61%).

When it came to disruptions in their own lives, 1 in 5 respondents said they had been laid off from work — most temporarily. Seventeen percent said they were relying on savings to cover bills, another 12% said they were running into debt and 7% were relying on others for financial support.

More than half those surveyed said they were worried or stressed during this time.

“There have been surveys with businesses, but we felt it was important to hear how our residents were feeling and how likely they will be to venture out as businesses reopen,” SMS Chairman Hersh Singer said in a statement.

The “SMS Community Pulse Survey” was conducted between May 5 and May 10. SMS plans to conduct similar surveys every three weeks for the next few months, the research firm said.

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