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More than 60% of Britons uncomfortable about going out after lockdown ends, survey finds

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

Adam Forrest
Saturday 02 May 2020 10:45 BST
UK coronavirus death toll rises to 27,510 after 739 more die

More than 60 per cent of Britons feel uncomfortable about the idea of going out to bars, restaurants, gigs, sporting events or using public transport even if the lockdown is lifted, a survey has revealed.

Many people remain wary about any easing of the curbs on social activities aimed at combatting the spread of the coronavirus, the Ipsos Mori poll showed.

Less than half (49 per cent) of those who are currently employed feel comfortable going back to work. Around a third (35 per cent) of those in work would be nervous about returning if restrictions were eased.

One leading statistician said fears about leaving home showed the government’s stay at home message may have been “slightly too successful”, considering the damaging economic impact of the lockdown.

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, of Cambridge University, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s much harder to frighten to people to stay at home than it is to reassure them they can go out again. Maybe our whole campaign has been, if anything, slightly too successful.”

Two-thirds of the public (67 per cent) said they will feel uncomfortable going to large public gatherings, such as sports or music events once controls are lifted, and 61 per cent expressed unease at the idea of using public transport or going to bars and restaurants.

However, most of us are much happier about the prospect of being able to meet friends or family outside their home, with 62 per cent saying they were comfortable with the idea in a post-lockdown scenario.

Keiran Pedley, research director at Ipsos Mori, said there was “clear unease” about restrictions ending.

“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.”

The number of Britons who believe the government was too slow to impose strict restrictions to tackle the coronavirus outbreak has gone up in the past week, a separate Ipsos Mori poll shows.

An overwhelming majority (66 per cent) of the public thought Boris Johnson brought in lockdown measures “too late”, up nine points from 57 per cent the previous week.

More than half of Conservative voters (51 per cent) thought he had acted too slowly by announcing stringent restrictions on 23 March.

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