SALT LAKE CITY — An extra $2,400 from the government will come in handy for one-time empty nesters Jeff and Wendy Rasmussen now that two of their adult children and a son-in-law have moved into their Lehi home.

Wendy Rasmussen, an assistant librarian at the Orem Public Library, said the money is important to her family because of the instability caused by the coronavirus pandemic. She sees it as a little bit of insurance for uncertain times ahead. It also puts the couple in a better financial position to help their children and their families.

“It is going into savings against joblessness and unemployment,” she said. “We’re going to try not to use it until we can see what’s going to happen. It’s in case we need to buy food, pay our mortgage. ... It’s sitting there for us and for our children.”

A new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics polls show that 16% of Utahns will put their small slice of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package into savings.

Another 20% intend to pay bills, including rent or utilities, while 14% plan to use the money to pay down debt.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act provides $1,200 for adults making up to $75,000 and $2,400 for couples earning up to $150,000.

More than two-thirds of Utahns expect to receive a check, according to the poll.

Independent pollster Scott Rasmussen surveyed 964 registered Utah voters April 15-21. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

The poll shows that 5% or fewer Utahns will spend their stimulus checks on necessary household items, home improvements projects, nonessential items, future travel or something else.

Vanessa Walsh, an assistant Utah attorney general, falls into those latter categories. She plans to spend the $1,000 and change she received on things she wouldn’t normally buy, like a new set of golf clubs or travel, which she said makes her feel better about somehow or some way putting it back into the economy.

“I’ll give a little bit of it back to Delta for plane fare,” she said.

Walsh said she has been able to work from home and would be fine without the extra money. But she said she wishes the government would have put more thought into who gets a check and who doesn’t, noting many servers and bartenders are unable to work.

Sybley Wozmak is one of those servers.

The 23-year-old Salt Lake City resident has been out work since the Porcupine Pub & Grille closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. She also hasn’t been able to work her other job as a movement instructor for senior citizens, the most vulnerable population to the deadly virus. She’s leaning mostly on unemployment benefits, including the extra $600 a week the government provides under the relief bill.

“I could get a job that’s going to pay me $8 an hour that might make enough to pay rent or I could just stay on this road until things pick back up again,” she said.

Wozmak said she tucked her $1,200 away in a savings account for rent on her tiny, $400-a-month apartment near the University of Utah. She also set aside some for an emergency such as car repairs.

According to the poll, 51% of Utahns say the stimulus money is important to them given their current financial situation. Only 16% didn’t consider it important and 31% say they don’t expect a check.

Scott Rasmussen also asked residents about President Donald Trump’s and the federal government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

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A majority of voters, 57%, continue to approve of how the president has responded, though they remain sharply divided along party lines.

But in somewhat of a disconnect, 45% say the federal government acted too late and didn’t do enough to slow the spread of the deadly infection, the polls shows. Another 43% believe the government acted appropriately and in a timely manner.

Those numbers show a slight shift but are similar to the results of a Deseret News/Hinckley Institute poll in March, with one exception. Utahns who say the government overreacted and put too many restrictions in place doubled from 6% to 12% over the past month.

“I think it is safe to conclude that people are reevaluating their early impressions. But, so far, the shifts are minor, Scott Rasmussen said.

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