Siesta Key residents & visitors respond to Covid-19 survey

By Siesta Sand staff

   The Siesta Sand and the Siesta Key Association (SKA) partnered on a survey to gauge the impact the Covid-19 pandemic is having on Siesta Key residents and visitors. The objective was to get an understanding on how the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent closures, restrictions, and social distancing measures are impacting their life and life on Siesta Key.

   We were also interested in learning about resident’s appetite for ordering takeout from local restaurants, shopping online, and the impact on future travel plans.

   Overall, we had 83 Siesta Key residents and visitors take the survey. Of the 83 respondents, 72 (86.75%) own property on Siesta Key and 49 (59.04%) are currently on Siesta Key. Of those not currently on Siesta Key, 14 (43.75%) said they were coming back to Siesta Key at a predetermined time regardless of the CDC’s recommendations on travel. Another 11 (34.38%) said they would return to Siesta Key when the CDC said it was safe to travel. The remaining 21.9% didn’t know when they would return.

Covid-19 concerns

 The largest group of respondents (36.14%) said they are primarily concerned about their own personal health during the Covid-19 pandemic. Second, they were concerned about the health of loved ones at 27.71%. The third choice was the overall impact on the U.S. economy (12.05%) and fourth was the local economy at 10.84%. Individual financial impact, at 8.43%, ranked least on the list of concerns.

   With health being a primary concern, it is no surprise that everyone has used traditional ways to stay in touch with family and friends but also discovered new ways to communicate.

   The phone, text, and email are the top three methods for staying in touch. However, a large number of people (62.65%) have discovered Zoom video conferencing. In fact, many are doing Zoom Happy Hours as a form of socializing.

   What is interesting is that the current situation has led to an increase in the amount of communication respondents have had with family and friends: 20.48% of the respondents said that they are communicating more during the pandemic than they would normally.

Siesta Key Recovery

   The vast majority of respondents are quite confident in Siesta Key’s ability to recover from the current situation. Of the respondents, 83.13% think life on Siesta Key will return to normal in the near future.

   What is exactly their definition of the near future? The time it will take to recover is where there are some differences of opinion.

   The timeline is evenly split amongst the respondents between 5-6 months and 10-12 months being the expected amount of time to “normal” recovery with each getting 21.69% of the response. Also tying in percentage of responses was 3-4 months and more than 12 months with 20.48%. Lastly, 1-2 months had 8.43% and 7-9 months had 7.23% of the responses, respectively.

   Ultimately, everyone is hopeful for a normal recovery, however, there are too many unknowns to be able to begin to project what the recovery timeline truly looks like.

Outdoor lifestyle changes & preferences

   Walking, biking, and driving are the three most frequent activities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Walking was the predominant activity with 87.95% of the respondents stating they are walking. Biking was second with less than half (42.17%) the respondents saying they are biking. Driving was third with 31.33% answering. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending how you look at it, driving was certainly easier with considerably less traffic on the island.

  The beaches remained the most popular destination for walkers and bikers. A total of 33.73% would walk on the beach while 28.92% would walk in their neighborhood. The south end of the island was more popular than the north end of the island with the south receiving 14.46% of the respondents and the north end of the island receiving 8.43%. The Siesta Key Village received 13.25% of the responses.

   One benefit of walking and biking is exploring the island and becoming more familiar with surrounding neighborhoods. A total of 38.55% said they discovered new neighborhoods during this time that they weren’t previously familiar with.

   Another benefit was spending more time talking with neighbors. A total of 50.60% said they were talking more with neighbors in driveways, sidewalks and in other safe social-distancing ways.

   Boating and fishing were the next two popular outdoor activities with 16.87% and 12.05%, respectively.

Indoor activities

   The pandemic has forced us to spend even more time indoors. How have Siesta Key residents been using this time?

   Netflix and Amazon Prime seem to be big winners during this time. Watching TV and movies was the number one response with 60.24%. Reading was also getting a fair share of mindshare with 49.40% response.

   The pandemic has certainly caused all of us to eat more meals at home. So, it is no surprise that cooking scored high marks with a 45.76% response rate.

   It is also time to get those pesky home projects done that can sometimes be sidetracked by beautiful weather ad beaches. 42.27% said they were using this time to work on home projects.

   While technically an outdoor activity, gardening is a home-based activity. A total of 31.33% said they are gardening during the pandemic. Perhaps, growing some vegetables that they can now cook!

   In addition to the increase in walking and biking, 24.10% are doing yoga and other types of exercise. So, with all of this new activity, perhaps, many will come out of this in better physical shape.