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Is it brake time for the economy?

Group's latest COVID-19 survey finds growing worry over Florida's bumpy reopening process.

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  • | 11:00 a.m. August 5, 2020
Courtesy. Rick Homans, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership.
Courtesy. Rick Homans, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership.
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Should Florida halt its economic reopening process to slow the spread of the coronavirus? A majority of Tampa Bay residents, in the latest public sentiment survey from the Tampa Bay Partnership — a privately funded coalition of business executives who focus on thought leadership at the regional level — say yes. 

The poll — conducted in late July in conjunction with the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, United Way Suncoast and the University of South Florida Muma College of Business — indicates residents are becoming more pessimistic about the COVID-19 crisis, now in its sixth month. 

“The trend lines are heading downhill in nearly every measure of public opinion right now,” Tampa Bay Partnership President and CEO Rick Homans states in a press release. “People are worried. The majority of our residents want to pump or slam on the brakes when it comes to re-opening. Very few want to hit the gas. They’re giving our elected officials permission to take charge, and they’re losing faith in their government leaders when they don’t see that happening.”

According to the release, more than half the respondents, 54%, say they are “very concerned” about the pandemic. And a much larger majority, 84%, believe the situation will not improve, and perhaps worsen, in the next 30 days. 

Job-seekers are also growing more despondent: More than four of 10, 43%, of survey respondents who were laid off or furloughed because of the crisis and have yet to return to the workforce believe they won’t be able to find a new job with similar pay to the one they lost. That’s a substantial increase from mid-May, when 21% of out-of-work survey respondents expressed that belief. 

“You have the economic crisis, you have the public health crisis," Homans tells Coffee Talk. "You can see in the numbers, there's a lot of concern. [The pandemic] affects the economy and causes a loss of jobs, but there is a sense that the public health side of this is the most important, going forward." 

To view the full findings of the survey, visit



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