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Startling findings in poll

Britons nervous over return to work, will shun big events

51% unhappy about return to work, 61% may shun public transport, 67% not keen on sports events

Britons say they are nervous about going back to work, using public transport or being in groups of people at sports events, bars and restaurants when the lockdown ends.

The findings in a new poll suggest that many venues will struggle to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Worryingly for business and the economy, only half (49%) of those who are currently employed feel comfortable going back to work, and a third (35%) would be nervous to do so.

Two-thirds (67%) of all age groups polled by Ipsos MORI said they will feel uncomfortable going to large public gatherings, such as sports or music events, compared to how they felt before the virus. Only 17% would feel comfortable attending such an event while 41% would feel not at all comfortable. 

Three in five (61%) Britons would also feel uncomfortable using public transport or going to bars and restaurants. While three in 10 (29%) feel comfortable going out to eat and drink, only 21% would be happy to use public transport to get there.

Uncomfortable statistics

  • 91% of 55-75s uncomfortable about attending a sports match
  • 61% uncomfortable about using public transport
  • 51% uncomfortable about the return to work
  • 39% uncomfortable about shopping in supermarkets

The findings revealed that young people are most at ease with going to bars and restaurants, with 36% of 18-34-year olds comfortable doing so, compared to only 22% of 55-75s.

Similarly, young people are most willing to head to large public gatherings. A quarter of 18-34s (26%) would be comfortable going to a sports match or music event compared to only 9% of 55-75s.

Almost two-thirds (62%) of Britons are comfortable with the idea of meeting friends and family outside of their household, however a third remain sceptical (33%).

These numbers suggest that it will take some time for parts of the British economy to return to any semblance of normality

– Keiran Pedley, Ipsos MORI

Four in 10 (39%) would feel uncomfortable shopping in supermarkets. 

Despite being most willing to attend large public events and bars/ restaurants, young people are least likely to be comfortable with meeting friends and family outside of their households. While two-thirds (64%) of those aged 35-75 would be happy doing so, only 57% of 18-34-year olds are at ease with this.

When parents/ guardians think about sending their children back to school, more feel uncomfortable than comfortable about doing so. Almost half (48%) express unease while 41% say they would be happy to send their children back.

Keiran Pedley, research director at Ipsos MORI said: “The public are looking forward to seeing family members again in person and a clear majority are comfortable doing so.

However, there is clear unease at other consequences of the lockdown ending.

In particular, clear majorities of Britons are nervous about using public transport again or going to bars, restaurants or live music and sporting events.

“These numbers suggest that it will take some time for parts of the British economy to return to any semblance of normality, even after lockdown has ended”.

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