how was your week?

1,046 New York Readers on Their Plans for a Pandemic Summer

‘Humid in a face mask. Drinking outside. Socially distanced play dates.’

Photo: Noah Berger/AP/Shutterstock
Photo: Noah Berger/AP/Shutterstock

With the arrival of Memorial Day Weekend, New York City beaches remained closed, with Mayor de Blasio promising “hundreds of officers” along the shoreline to enforce his orders. But Long Island and the suburbs north of the city could be reopening as soon next week, Governor Cuomo announced on Friday. Meanwhile, in Washington, President Trump declared houses of worship to be essential services, and called for governors to open them across the country. Here’s how 1,046 New York readers were doing this week — and how they’re thinking about the summer ahead. (Note: Graphs show week-over-week responses, all other results are from week 11 only.)

How would you describe your emotional state right now?

Very anxious and/or scared: 9.1%
Somewhat anxious and/or scared: 31.9%
Concerned: 39.4%
Slightly concerned: 11.9%
Totally fine: 7.8%

Do you, or anyone in your household, fear that your work puts you at significant risk of contracting the virus?

No: 73.1%
Yes: 26.9%

How often are you leaving your home?

Not at all: 8.2%
Just for essential errands: 79.9%
I still have to leave for work, but I’m not making many other trips: 8.5%
I’m living my life as normal: 3.4%

Have you felt more comfortable leaving your home over the past few weeks?

No: 61.35%
Yes: 38.65%

Are you sheltering in place somewhere that’s not your primary residence?

No: 92.2%
Yes: 7.8%

If so, where are you staying?

A family member’s home: 52.7%
A friend’s home: 4%
A second home that you own: 16.2%
A short-term rental: 12.2%
A significant other’s home: 5.4%
Other: 9.5%

Has your employer reduced your pay since the outbreak began?

No: 44.6%
Yes: 16.9%
Not Applicable: 38.5%

If so, how much of a pay cut did you receive?

Less than 5%: 6.2%
5-10%: 14.7%
10-15%: 10.4%
15-20%: 19.6%
More than 20%: 49.1%

Have you lost work or had your hours reduced since the outbreak began?

No: 45.1%
Yes: 24.6%
Not Applicable: 30.3%

If you’ve lost work, have you applied for unemployment?

I’ve applied successfully: 30.9%
I’m trying to apply but cannot get through (site is crashing/ phone lines busy): 11.9% 
I haven’t applied because I’m not sure if I am eligible: 25%
I haven’t applied for other reasons: 32.2%

Has anyone in your household applied for unemployment?

No: 81.6%
Yes: 15%
They’re trying to apply but can’t get through (site crashing/ phone lines busy): 3.4%

If you’re a New York resident, when do you think New York City will reopen?

June: 13%
July: 26.5%
August: 18.5%
September: 19.7%
October: 6.3%
November or later: 16%

How many of the following advances need to be made before you’d feel comfortable returning to public life?

• Comprehensive contact tracing around the country.
• Comprehensive contact tracing in my state.
• Readily available virus tests.
• Readily available antibody tests.
• Temperature checks at the entrances of businesses and offices.
• A vaccine.

The Five Most Common Responses:

Comprehensive contact tracing around the country, comprehensive contact tracing in my state, readily available virus tests, readily available antibody tests, temperature checks at the entrances of businesses and offices, and a vaccine: 18%

A vaccine: 9%

Comprehensive contact tracing around the country, comprehensive contact tracing in my state, readily available virus tests, readily available antibody tests, and a vaccine: 8%

Comprehensive contact tracing around the country, readily available virus tests, readily available antibody tests, and a vaccine: 5%

Readily available virus tests, readily available antibody tests, and a vaccine: 4%

What do you think your summer will look like?

“We are trying to figure out how to expand our bubble slightly to include extended family in a new quarantine spot. All summer camps have been canceled, along with my daughter’s first job. We are going to try to recreate the 1970s summer we grew up knowing. Lots of time on the water in various sailing/paddling scenarios, hanging with cousins, and reading. So much reading. And taking the 15-year-olds out on country roads to teach them how to drive.”

“Me, sitting in my home office, teaching summer school on Zoom while wearing the sweatpants I had to buy because literally nothing in my closet fits me anymore.”

“I live in the Heights, so it’s going to relatively feel the same — domino-playing and bachata tunes blaring from speakers during the day, fireworks and drag racing waking me up at night. The only difference is that everyone’s going to have to figure out how to eat a piragua while wearing a mask.”

“At times I think things should progress to the point that you can actually go to a restaurant or bar and meet with friends. Other times I think that the reopening will be a set back and more severe measures will be implemented to keep everything shut down and everyone at home.”

“I don’t think I’ll be able to go to the beach this summer. If I do it will be very early in the morning, I’ll have to plan a couple of weeks ahead, and I probably won’t get to stay very long. I like summers in NYC, but I miss my real-life friends and I’m going to miss Coney Island.”

“My partner and I are fortunate enough to be able escape New York for the summer to camp out at a family home. It will mean living with relatives who we don’t particularly get along with and increasing our inner circle of close contacts. But these are risks we’ve decided to take to get out of the city. Other than that, I suspect it will look a lot like my spring: Working from home with some breaks to go on walks outside. Summer is my favorite time of year, so it will be bittersweet.”

“I’m trying to find a job right now in production and media, a struggling industry right now obviously. Will be looking for a job, trying to see friends as much as I can, and trying to remember how lucky I am to be going through this pandemic with the privilege to social distance, a safe place to isolate, and a family I feel safe with.”

“Sad. It’s our favorite time of year. We usually go to the Rockaways several times a week. We went last weekend when it was sunny and it was so packed it didn’t feel fun. It felt anxious and scary. Usually my daughter and I travel a lot over the summer and visit family while we are off school but we don’t feel comfortable putting family at risk by going there. It’s hard. It’ll be too hot to stay inside, but too dangerous to go outside.”

“I think it will be one of the worst I’ve had. I have three young children who have been home and are very out of sorts. There doesn’t seem much opening and I’m not sure what I can do with them. It’s very unsettling.”

“Bleak. I just can’t imagine socializing, going to the beach, traveling, staying in a hotel, taking a ferry — any of the summer rituals I know and love. Life will get back to some kind of normal but it won’t be the same this summer — not until we have an effective vaccine that all of us have access to.”

“I am an introvert who loves being at home, so I feel mentally better prepared for this situation than most people, but I also love camping in my woodsy great state and don’t expect to do that at all this summer; two trips have already been canceled. I can control my own behavior but I don’t trust the general populace, especially here in Michigan, where people have proved to be very resistant to the most basic measures. Overall, in my home I expect the summer mood to be one of a lingering paranoia tinged with cautious optimism for the faraway future, if our state manages to protect us.”

“I work for a small town in the Adirondacks. I think this summer has the potential to be disastrous as our summer population density increases and more and more people refuse to follow social distancing, etc.”

“Very different! I am in education, and always work in the summer school program. If there is a program at all, it will be virtual, and not as many teachers will be needed. I also travel to see family members in the summer — that’s not happening this summer. I like to go to the beach, and attend outdoor music performances — I think these are all off, too.”

“I’ve just graduated university, so I’m disappointed I can’t do the things I planned on doing to celebrate the end of the year, like traveling and going to events, but it’ll be nice to stay closer to home. Also I’m currently out of work and finding a full-time job has been hard with the current circumstances. My city has flattened the curve and is currently in the province’s second stage of reopening, so I think in the coming months I’ll be able to see friends (safely) and hopefully find some fun things to do.”

“Humid in a face mask. Being paranoid about others being too close. Waiting in very long lines for grocery stores. Drinking outside. Socially distanced play dates.”

“I just graduated from law school, so my summer was always going to be spent studying for the bar exam. But now my summer will be spent studying for an exam that I don’t even really believe will be safe to take in September when it’s scheduled, with no real way to give myself a break. No queer beach, no Celebrate Brooklyn, no park BBQs. Just long days at my desk with the AC cranked, jacking up my electric bill. In the grand scheme of things I’m lucky this is my problem, but I’m still sad.”

“Me, tucked inside my apartment, avoiding the hot, cranky, mask-wearing people, yearning to be at the beach. Not looking forward to this summer.”

“Exercising in front of the computer, reading my Kindle on the patio, eating my own terrible cooking at home and seeing my significant other a couple of nights a week, at his place or mine.”

“Pretty restricted: takeout only, so no real dining experience, no live entertainment — movies, theater. Lots of fresh air, walks, nature. Nice weather, lots of reading, no house guests. An okay (hopefully) but not great summer.”

“I reside in Southampton we’re concerned things are going to get much worse out here due to the increase in visitors.”

“We have three kids and we both work from home now. We are getting by, but it’s impossible to get any work done or be a good parent. We’ve decided to go to my in-laws for the summer so we can have some help with the kids and access to a much bigger yard and their pool. We haven’t left the house or our own backyard in so long, so we feel confident we won’t be exposing them to anything. This whole episode is so miserable and yet, we are the lucky ones.”

“Hot and sweaty in my NYC apartment. Any excursions to escape the heat — to the beach, to museums, to the movies — might be replaced by carefully socially distant trips to the park, but I’ll probably just sweat it out at home most of the time.”

“Porchville and margaritas.”

“Risky. People here in Italy will be going on vacations, especially at the beaches where there will be many people without masks while going in for a swim and then leaving the beach to get back to their beach chairs. Restaurants will be open and even with social distancing people will obviously be without the masks on and conversing during meals.”

“Much quieter than I had expected. I had wanted to go to Milwaukee for the Democratic Convention and get more involved in local political actions. Between Bernie Sanders dropping out of the race and the virus, I no longer intend to do so.”

“I imagine I’ll be spending a lot of time looking out my window. My husband and I don’t feel comfortable walking around our Brooklyn neighborhood, but I know we have to start trying to get out more beyond our trips to the grocery store every two weeks so we don’t become agoraphobics. Honestly, that’s one of my worries right now, that I’m going to become too scared to go out.”

“Bleak. Hopefully some restrictions on being in public in small groups safely distanced will happen soon and I think that would be enough to get most New Yorkers through the season. I think if the parks and beaches are an option, in a responsible way, that would be enough for me. Though we’ll all miss the city we live here to experience until it returns in full force.”

“A lot of alone time! And maybe some socially distanced BBQs in friends’ backyards in the suburbs. Maybe an outdoor-restaurant excursion in July if things are still trending well. Normally a beach person but I don’t think people will be good about masks and staying apart, so probably not going to venture there except in early mornings or in the evening.”

“I usually work at a summer camp; that’s not happening and so my summer looks grimly unstructured. Once I get word about how my fall classes will operate, I’m sure I’ll have to figure out how to spend the summer prepping [for] those. I’d love to travel to see my family, but right now I don’t feel ethically or logistically comfortable. My state keeps getting more and more open with no medical reason to do so. It’s going to be a very long summer.”

“Boring and monotonous, with countless trips to the liquor store, the park, and the grocery store (in that order).”

“We are getting married in July and will likely only do so with ten or less guests locally. It was originally supposed to be a destination wedding and then a honeymoon to South Africa. Summer will definitely be less exciting than it was supposed to be!”

“Intense. Being from Puerto Rico and having a government that is not taking this matter seriously, or ethically, we might be on a brink of protest again. We can’t tolerate more corruption, especially when hurricane season is coming and we have little chances to be prepared for a future crisis. I am scared living in Puerto Rico.”

“Even though this year will be different, I still feel the familiar joy that comes with the beginning of summer. It will definitely be harder to quarantine (or stay in) when the weather is perfect to sweltering, and I think it would be wise for the city to come up with some solutions and options that allow people to be outside safely. I think it would make sense to block off certain streets for a few hours a night to give restaurants more outdoor seating, and open up the smaller parks that are closed now.”

Read Previous Polls

See All

Note: Not every respondent answered every question.

1,046 New York Readers on Their Plans for a Pandemic Summer