Lansing COVID-19 Recovery Survey Results

Thank you to the 229 people who responded to our COVID-19 recovery survey! Click here to see the results, and keep reading to see our analysis of the results!

Gender and income seemed to have no major impact on the answers. For most questions, age also didn’t have a major impact, with one significant exception: events. Question 8 asked how long people would wait to attend a large indoor event with appropriate social distancing guidelines in place. The answers formed a reverse bell curve, with the top two responses being Right Away (24%) or More than 9 Months (21.8%). After running a crosstab, we could see that as respondents got older, their timeframes for attendance were more likely to skew longer. This was a gradual change in opinion following age lines, with the major split occurring between ages 45-54 and ages 55-64. (Note: Question 9, concerning outdoor events, also followed this trend, but much less dramatically; younger respondents selected Right Away [38.4%], and older respondents were more spread out along the timeline of 1 Month to More than 9 Months.)

Nearly half of the respondents indicated that they were comfortable returning to dine-in restaurants immediately, with the other 50% spread out from 1 month to more than 9 months. Many more respondents (68.6%) were immediately willing to shop in local businesses. This is an interesting observation, because respondents also stated that prior to COVID-19, dining was their #1 reason for visiting Lansing, not shopping (which was #2). Since the comfort levels for each of those are in the opposite order, we may see that trend change by year’s end. 

As COVID-19 recovery continues, people expressed a strong desire for outdoor dining (such as sidewalk or patio seating) and regular dine-in service. An overwhelming majority, 79.5%, stated that they wished to see curbside options continue, either permanently or at least until COVID-19 is no longer a threat. 

65.9% of respondents indicated that their online shopping had increased during the COVID-19 crisis. However, there was a tendency toward online shopping with national online retailers, as opposed to local retailers with an online presence; this may be due to the fact that many Lansing businesses do not have online stores. 

Question 13 was an open-ended question that invited respondents to share ideas and suggestions that would make make their Lansing dining, shopping, and entertainment experiences more comfortable as the COVID-19 reopening and recovery process continues. 59 of the 229 respondents (25.8%) chose to answer this question. While some responses discussed topics like events, city regulations, and beautification ideas, over half of the responses (34 responses—57.6%) dealt with COVID-19 restrictions. Specifically, masks. 6 of those 34 responses (or 17.6%) expressed a strong negative opinion for masks and any other COVID-19 restrictions. However, 27 of the 34 responses (79.4%) expressed the desire for business employees to wear masks while working. Furthermore, 19 of the 34 responses (55.9%) expressed a desire to see customers wearing masks. Many commenters stated that they are encouraged by businesses with masks, and some respondents stated that they are unlikely to shop at a business if they don’t wear masks. 

We cross referenced some questions with our 2019 Downtown Market Study responses, to see if there were any noteworthy changes over the year. For restaurants, responses and outlooks were fairly close to 2019 responses, with one new item. When asking what type of restaurants people would be likely to frequent in the long term, the top response was Family Restaurant (which received votes from 27.5% of respondents). Other top responses include Brewery, Steakhouse, and Deli/Sandwich Shop. (Note: This specific question asked about new or expanded restaurants, so if Lansing already has a restaurant that fits the category, respondents may have been indicating support for the existing business, not requesting a new one). 

Continuing to cross reference, a pharmacy is still the top choice for new or expanded retail establishment, selected by 40.2% of respondents (up from 36.98% in 2019). Sporting Goods/Outdoors and Variety/General Store are up around 5% each, while Women’s Clothing and Arts/Crafts/Hobbies (despite still being in the Top 5 responses) are down about 10% each. Most other retail responses were similar to 2019. 

The demographics are similar, which is encouraging from an accuracy standpoint. The age split spikes around 45-64 in both 2019 and 2020, and the largest income bracket for both surveys was $50,000 to $74,000. The gender split was only slightly different, with a few more males responding this time. 

This survey was a partnership between Main Street Lansing and Main Street Iowa, with the goal of gathering consumer preferences and public opinions about COVID-19 related matters. Responses will help Lansing welcome the public back to a clean, safe, and comfortable setting, as well as help to strategize and prioritize actions as we continue to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions about this survey or these results, reach out to Andy Kelleher, Executive Director of Main Street Lansing, by calling 563-538-9229 or emailing