Bay Area Workers Still Wary of Returning to Work Because of COVID, Poll Says

More than two years into the pandemic, roughly half of Bay Area voters remain concerned about contracting COVID-19, according to poll results released Thursday by the Bay Area Council business group.

The poll, conducted by the Oakland-based market research firm EMC Research, sampled 1,000 registered voters in early March across the nine-county Bay Area about the pandemic and its effects on the region going forward.

Of those sampled, 49% said they were very or somewhat concerned about contracting the virus, and . 59% said the same about a family member contracting COVID.

Thirty percent of those sampled said they currently feel safe returning to "normal," with another 32% said they will feel safe doing so in the next year.

The remaining respondents varied wildly in their estimation of a return to pre-pandemic life, ranging from 1-2 years from now to 12% that said the Bay Area will never return to a pre-pandemic normal.

Those saying they're ready to return to a pre-pandemic normal increased from 11% in last year's Bay Area Council poll, while those saying the region will not return to normal also increased from 6% in 2021.

Bay Area Council officials said the implications of the poll could prove problematic for employers and transit agencies seeking to entice workers back to in-person work and in downtown business districts.

Jim Wunderman, the group's president and CEO, said the region must move forward even if COVID will never fully disappear.

“Restoring public confidence for returning to work, transit, downtowns and all the other activities that make life worth living must be among our highest priorities,” he said.

About one-third of those polled said they expect to work from home permanently, with another 29% saying they have already returned to in-person work.

Most of the remaining respondents said they expect to return to in-person work within the next year.

Large majorities, 79% and 85%, respectively, expressed concern about the pandemic's mental health repercussions on both adults and children.

Roughly two-thirds of poll respondents also expressed concern about how the pandemic has affected and will continue to affect the Bay Area's economy.

See the complete results of the poll.



  1. Who would have thunk it,
    the half that are still getting taxpayer funded gov’t handouts
    (welfare, food stamps, rent subsidies, health care subsidies and college tuition holidays)
    do not want to return to work,
    the bureaucrats that for over 2 years now,
    these taxpayer funded government employees are getting full pay while
    still claiming the Covid ‘work-from-home’ productivity loss deduction.

    Don’t even ask the teacher’s unions that put children Last for the past 2 years –
    those ‘remote’ student’s education, productivity & earnings are diminished for a lifetime.

  2. Steven,
    If the teachers are so worried about catching Covid, they can wear a surgical or KN95 mask and they’ll be fine…even the science will tell you that. As for the rest of the workers it’s just mass paranoia, I never stopped working the entire time, and I worked in what the CDC considers a highly infectious work environment…the airport. Was I ever worried, not at all, and I’m almost 60, still didn’t care then and don’t care now. I get colds and I survive those, Covid is just another form of cold(yes, the cold is a coronavirus)…all you have to do is take care of yourself and develop strategies to keep yourself safe, just like those with compromised immune systems will do as well as those with pre-existing conditions(both of those groups have been used to keeping themselves safe for decades).

  3. Please see the youtube of the Tuesday meeting of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors at 1:53:30 onwards (about 5 minutes).

    Santa Clara County was one of the first counties in the USA to mandate a lockdown. Most of the public health restrictions: masking, vaccination, social distancing were all imposed here to the max extent possible, without explanation, without discussion without notice. For 2 years, the 2 million residents of the county have been anxiously awaiting the next bureaucratic diktat. Even the elected political leaders have been beaten down by the County Executive and the Public Health department, which reports to him.

    Well, on Tuesday, the County Executive, who is the boss of the public health officer, in a public meeting, made a complete fool of himself—and the elected leaders who have been going along. In defending the tragic mass layoffs of county employees, Jeffrey V. Smith let it slip that he now believes that masking protects the wearer, not others around the wearer—an incredible change that calls the bluff of the last 2 years of public health messages.

    The casual flipping of the switch suggests we can’t trust anything Smith says and he provided no basis for it—he simply pointed vaguely to research without specifics. It goes without saying that this change was manufactured without any discussion, and for the sole purpose of justifying an imperious decision to fire county employees or put them on unpaid leave. A new day, a new tune for Smith, but tragedy for county residents and employees.

    Only ONE county supervisor (Sup. Ellenberg) showed any outrage at the decision. While Wasserman was puzzled, he didn’t do anything to hold Jeffrey Smith accountable. Otto Lee, Cindy Chavez (running for San Jose mayor), and Joseph Simitian just let him get away with it. FOR SHAME. For 2 years, the bureaucrats wrecked the county and wrested control from the politically accountable leadership, and now that same leadership is going to meekly acquiesce to Jeffrey Smith’s reversal? What do they even believe? Thank you Sup. Ellenberg, but I am very angry at the remainder of the Supervisors at not pushing Smith.

    We all know that Emperor Jeffrey Smith is a problem and he needs to be fired. The question is, will 3 members of the board step up to the challenge?

  4. Give me a break Steven, I’m showing the hypocrisy of making people wear a mask because it protects “others” (which public health is explicit about, see vs. Jeffrey Smith’s message at 1:53:30 of the video ( at the Tuesday board meeting where he says it does not protect others. What a fraud.

    Your note has NOTHING about this.

  5. @HB, It is pretty sad for someone to spend so much effort making up garbage scenarios, mis-interpreting half-baked data and mis-representing outcomes,
    and then writing verbosely as if someone reads it.

    If he only put half as much of his time into being successful at work or in business, maybe he would not have to depend on taxpayers to bail-out his rent payments or even be able to own a residence.

    Really, in the entire Bay Area roughly 350 hospitalized people have had a pos Covid test,
    and in all Santa Clara County hospitals only 19 people with Covid occupy ICU beds.
    It is basically the lowest levels of hospitalization since Covid tracking 2 years ago.

  6. Oh. My. Lord. Fear mongering really settled in here. It is the THIRD YEAR! Most of the nation is back to normal – and people here are still obsessing over masks and poop water (Steven!).

  7. Steve,

    An experton CBS evening News — a highly credible non-partisan broadcast and CBS news has won many awards for journalism — said that spikes infections are expected and the fact that deaths are not increasing proves the vaccines are working.

    You keep talking about infections but haven’t shown us any evidence that deaths are increasing. That’s because they’re not.

    We have to remain vigilant of course but ca patriot is right that it’s basically endemic by now so it’s about returning to normal while controlling covid as well as we can.

    He does need to take the vaccine and boosted though as do we all. I have three doses so far, the first two and the booster.

    Which again, 85% vaccination rate in Santa clara county that’s pretty good. And deaths are very low about 6 per week.

  8. Someone has an unhealthy obsession – 7 posts yesterday – starting at 2:22 AM?
    17 out of 25 posts?

    The reality is that Covid hospitalizations & deaths are at their lowest ever in 2 years,
    Across the entire 9 Bay Area counties only 42 ICU beds are occupied by someone,
    that also had a positive covid test.

    Across Santa Clara County hospitals,
    Patients that occupy an ICU bed that also tested pos for covid number only 18 ICU beds.

    And when ‘Reality’ hits garbage analysis – move the goalposts to support the obsession.

    From covid (now at its lowest severity and lowest levels), shift to general hospital ICU capacity (not even related to covid), then obsess over waste water,
    next its mixing up deaths for any reason with covid… etc etc.

    What next –
    Maybe publish the daily BED-PAN availability?

    Gotta ‘GO’ somewhere – right?

  9. Maybe time to ‘Shift’ goalposts to something of real concern – like the porous southern border
    – in which Deadly Drugs are flowing into the U.S.,
    and bumbling Biden has violated his oath of office in neglecting national security and established border enforcement laws.

    Someone claims the President & his Admin has been Violating the Constitution since Day 1 when they say:
    “…the government CANNOT allow ANY deaths because it is unconstitutional to in effect give a death sentence to one that has committed no crime. Especially without due process of law. …”

    When will the Impeachment Proceedings begin?

    More adults between 18 and 45 died of fentanyl overdoses in 2020 than ANY OTHER Leading cause of death, including COVID-19, motor vehicle accidents, cancer and suicide.

    “Fentanyl overdoses have surged to the Leading Cause of Death for
    adults between the ages of 18 – 45,
    according to an analysis of U.S. government data.”

    Mexico and China are the primary sources for the flow of fentanyl into the U.S., according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

    Between 2020 and 2021, nearly 79,000 people 18 – 45 years old,
    37,208 in 2020 and 41,587 in 2021, died of Fentanyl overdoses.

    between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 15, 2021, there were more than 53,000 COVID-19 deaths
    among those 18 – 49 yrs old, according to CDC data.

    The DEA announced a surge in the sale of fake prescription pills containing deadly opioids on social media platforms like Snapchat.

    Fentanyl also killed more Americans in general in 2020 than car accidents, gun violence, breast cancer and suicide, according to the analysis of CDC data

    Overall drug overdose deaths are expected to surpass 100,000 in 2021, according to preliminary CDC data,
    representing a 28% increase between April 2020 and April 2021.

    Fentanyl drug seizures at the border have reached record highs in 2021, according to data from Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

  10. @ Try Logic, The covid ‘Waste Water Whisperer’ ?
    – loads and loads of lectures on dumped loads.

    Occasionally boasts in comment sections about his rent deadbeat status, unsure what other taxpayer programs he subsists on.
    About the only employer he could possibly be working for is a local, state or federal government bureau where cutting deadwood is nearly impossible.

  11. It’s because they are irrational and bought into the constant fear mongering from the County. You can see the negative psychological impact of the fear mongering by reading Steven’s constant rants about a virus that is less severe than the seasonal flu. These people afraid to go back to work are also boosted, probably twice – and double-mask it. I mean, we have to move on.

    I recommend Sara Cody, who I refuse to call a doctor or scientist, do something smart for a change and roll-out a COVID Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome Support Program to help all of the people she scared for two-years. Including the high-school kids showing up to the gym in masks and latex gloves – they need a leader to step up and say “take off the masks, it’s ok.”

    It’s sad what this County has done to people, especially the kids.

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