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Latest UW coronavirus survey shows Wyomingites are optimistic jobs will return
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Latest UW coronavirus survey shows Wyomingites are optimistic jobs will return

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Downtown Casper is reflected in the window of Jade Elephant Beads on Tuesday. Several businesses have closed or altered their hours of operation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A majority of Wyomingites who’ve lost jobs or have had family members laid off because of the coronavirus believe that employment and hours will return when the virus’ spread has deteriorated further, according to the latest University of Wyoming survey.

The report from the university’s Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center is the third such survey gauging the effects of the virus on Wyoming’s population. It has consistently found high percentages of people here who’ve lost jobs, hours or have a family member whose employment has been affected.

But the latest survey showed optimism that the jobs would return. Sixty-four percent of workers surveyed said it was likely the jobs would return. For those who’ve lost hours or pay, 73 percent said the cuts would be temporary.

Meanwhile, Gov. Mark Gordon’s approval rating remains high, with 75 percent of those surveyed supporting his approach. There was a slight decrease in approval for President Donald Trump’s handling of the crisis, though it still remains at 20.5 points in the black.

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Three-quarters of the state says it’s “very concerned” about economic impacts from the pandemic. The survey also showed a continued decrease in approval for the measures taken by the state to mitigate the spread.

Seventy-six percent of those in the survey said they supported closing K-12 schools, a decline of eight points from the last survey; 67 percent said they support day care closures, an 11 point drop; 64 percent supported closing restaurants and bars, a 12 point drop; 74 percent said they supported limiting the size of gatherings, an eight point drop; and 44 percent supported a shelter-in-place order, a dip of four points.

Perhaps relatedly, more Wyomingites are beginning to say that they feel the worst of the virus is behind them. They’re still in the minority — 20 percent — though the number has grown by six points.

The optimism shines through in the survey’s findings on Wyomingites’ behavior. Forty-seven present said they’ve changed their routine a lot, a seven-point drop from earlier this month. Seventy-one percent said they’re avoiding physical contact with others, a eight-point decline.

“Fewer people say they are spending more time at home in response to the COVID-19 crisis (73 percent) than said they were two weeks ago (78 percent),” the university said in a press release.

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Education and Health Reporter

Seth Klamann joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 and covers education and health. A 2015 graduate of the University of Missouri and proud Kansas City native, Seth worked for newspapers in Milwaukee and Omaha before coming to Casper.

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