SALT LAKE CITY — Store hopping, waiting in lines and arriving early are among strategies Utahns are using to buy those hard-to-find items on their grocery lists during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Toilet paper is one one of them. I’m just hoping I can hold out for a while. I do have some, but if this goes on much longer, probably not enough,” Colleen Perfili said.

The 75-year-old St. George resident also knows what it’s like to stand in some “very, very long” lines to get into the store, even after grocers started opening early for senior citizens.

“When you’re in a line like that, you’re definitely not social distancing,” she said. “It makes you wonder.”

Nearly three-fourths of Utahns say they were unable to buy the groceries or supplies they sought because of the coronavirus outbreak. And nearly half have stood in line to buy groceries, a new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll shows.

The deadly virus has impacted residents in a multitude of ways, including losing jobs, reduced work hours and pay, working from home, canceling travel plans and missing out on social events.

Pollster Scott Rasmussen queried 979 Utah registered voters March 23-28. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

The survey found 87% of residents are very or somewhat concerned about the coronavirus, while 13% are not very or not at all concerned.

Orem resident Raymond Vega, 54, said he’s “extremely” concerned about the virus. He’s not working but Deseret Industries is still paying him, though he can’t get the overtime hours he needs to make ends meet. As for groceries, he hits multiple stores in search of milk, eggs and paper products.

Worse, his daughter who lives on Staten Island in New York, has COVID-19. She is in quarantine at home.

Very few Utahns — only 6% — say they have close family members or friends who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

As of Tuesday, confirmed cases in Utah numbered 889, with five deaths. The total number of those tested stands at 18,513.

“Things are going to get worse because not everybody’s been tested,” Vega said.

Vega is among 40% of Utahns who believe the virus will get worse and infect more people in the next month. Another 38% believe the virus will have been generally contained and things will have returned back to normal, while 22% aren’t sure.

Saxtyn Campbell, a 22-year-old ambulance driver from North Salt Lake, missed work because of a cough — he wasn’t able to get a coronavirus test — that put him self-isolation for two weeks. He’s better now, but doesn’t see the pandemic abating anytime soon.

“We haven’t gotten near the worst of this yet. We’re still in the previews. The movie hasn’t started, let alone the climax,” he said.

John Morris, of Lehi, said he isn’t too worried about the coronavirus because he thinks he was already exposed to it. He said he and some of his neighbors all experienced fevers, coughs, diarrhea and lingering pain in the lungs in February.

Morris said he believes things will stay about the same for a while.

“If they extend these restrictions past three three or four weeks, it’s going to get bad. People are going to really be upset,” he said.

Moab resident Jennifer Horton initially wasn’t worried about the coronavirus outbreak and thought it would pass fairly quickly. But after learning her husband’s immune system is compromised, her thinking changed.

“At first I thought it would probably be a few weeks and then things would start to go back to normal. But as we go on, it seem likes it’s never-ending,” she said.

Horton, 41, and her family planned to spend a weekend attending Utah Jazz games in March and have tickets for a supercross event at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City in May. Those activities aren’t happening anymore.

Canceled social or entertainment events have affected 63% of Utahns, while 48% say they’ve canceled travel plans due to the pandemic.

Morris, 44, was working to put together the Ultimate Sports Bash this July, a sort of comic-con for sports fans. That’s now canceled. He also can’t go to his dojo for martial arts.

Like many Utahns, Morris, a regulatory affairs specialist, is working from home.

“It’s not as easy. Sometimes it’s easier in person,” he said, adding the company is trying to bring back teammates who are stuck in India. “It’s definitely changed the entire dynamic for workflow. Things are slower.”

According the poll, only 18% of Utahns say they’re teleworking.

Horton, who works for a hotel management company, is still going to the office but has had her time cut to four hours a day. She said workers are spread out and cleaning daily.

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She is among 28% of residents who are working reduced hours. Another 16% have lost their jobs.

The poll shows 93% of Utahns are very or somewhat closely following news about the coronavirus. And when it comes to the virus, 44% say national media and 44% say local media provided them with the information they trust the most, while 12% say social media.

Perfili said from what she is seeing and hearing on the news, the crisis will get worse before it gets better, and will forever change how people live.

“It’s a very frightening world we’re living in right now. It makes me very nervous ... It worries me,” she said. “I think it’s going to have a huge, long-lasting impact on the economy and on our lives. I don’t know that we’ll ever be back the normal that we once knew.”

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