The Downtown Evanston marketing group is asking shoppers and diners how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their willingness to spend their dollars in the central business core.

The online survey has about 15 questions on customer behavior, such as an individual’s willingness to eat at a restaurant indoors or outdoors, go to a bar or nail/hair salon, shop indoors, or work out at a gym/studio. Answers include totally or slightly willing, totally or slightly unwilling, or unsure.

There are other questions as well, connected to where and why customers are going, or, perhaps not going during the current COVID situation.

Annie Coakley, Downtown Evanston’s executive director, tells Evanston Now that she has heard from a few restaurant owners that business is “down significantly,” and they were wondering why.

Coakley says the restaurant owners “weren’t sure if it was the people don’t feel safe, or [if it’s] the vaccination mandate, or inflation,” so she decided to find out via the survey.

Downtown Evanston has received nearly 200 responses in just the first few hours that the survey was available on Wednesday.

Responses can be anonymous, but those including name and contact information are eligible for a drawing for a $50 gift card.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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