Publication - Research and analysis

Public attitudes to coronavirus: October update

Published: 9 Oct 2020

High level findings from recent polling work on public attitudes to the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland.

28 page PDF

2.2 MB

28 page PDF

2.2 MB

Contents
Public attitudes to coronavirus: October update
3. Looking forward

28 page PDF

2.2 MB

3. Looking forward

Lifting restrictions

Finally, surveys have examined people's reactions to lifting lockdown restrictions. This section summarises polling data about public confidence and comfort in resuming restricted activities and current trends in activity across different aspects of society.

Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with statements about how to decide when to lift restrictions. As shown in Figure 21, the majority of respondents agreed with these statements on support for a distinct and phased approach to lifting restrictions since May, with a dip in support at the end of June,.

Figure 21: Proportion who agreed/strongly agreed with the two statements shown [11]
Chart description below

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1001-1048)

Chart Description

This figure shows a line graph with two lines. One line shows the proportion of respondents who strongly agreed or agreed with the statement ‘I support restrictions in Scotland being lifted at a different rate and/or in a different way to the rest of the UK’ from 12-13 May to 25-26 August; this has remained relatively stable, with 76% reporting this at the most recent time point. The second line shows the proportion of respondents who strongly agreed or agreed with the statement ‘I support the Scottish Government’s phased approach to lifting lockdown restrictions’ from 26-27 May to 25-26 August; this has been relatively stable, with 71% reporting this at the most recent time point.

The proportion of respondents agreeing that the time is now right for businesses to start re-opening increased gradually since June, from two to three fifths, as shown in Figure 22. However, there has been little change in the vast majority agreeing that decisions on lifting restrictions should be based on saving lives.

Figure 22: Proportions who agreed/strongly agreed with the two statements shown [12],[13]
Chart description below

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1001-1048)

Chart Description

This figure shows a line graph with two lines. One line shows the proportion of respondents who strongly agreed or agreed with the statement ‘I think that decisions on when and how to lift restrictions must be based on saving lives’ from 21-22 April to 18-19 August; this has decreased slightly since 21-22 April, with 80% reporting this at the most recent time point. The second line shows the proportion of respondents who strongly agreed or agreed with the statement ‘I think the time is now right for businesses to be re-opening’ from 2-3 June to 18-19 August; this has increased since 2-3 June, with 58% reporting this at the most recent time point.

In a new question, respondents were asked whether they feel the speed at which the Scottish Government is easing restrictions is about right, too fast or too slow. As shown in Figure 23 the majority of respondents answered that the Scottish Government is easing restrictions at a speed that is 'about right', although this decreased in August. The proportions who think that the speed of easing restrictions is 'too fast' and 'too slow' were stable and roughly equal in August.

Figure 23: Proportions who think the speed at which Scottish Government is easing restrictions is about right, too fast or too slow
Chart description below

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1008-1012)

Chart Description

This figure shows a line graph with three lines. One line shows the proportion of respondents who think the speed at which the Scottish Government is easing restrictions is ‘about right’ from 28-29 July to 25-26 August; this has decreased since 28-29 July, with 60% reporting this at the most recent time point. The second line shows the proportion of respondents who think the speed at which the Scottish Government is easing restrictions is ‘too slow’ from 28-29 July to 25-26 August; this has remained stable since 28-29 July, with 18% reporting this at the most recent time point. The third line shows the proportion of respondents who think the speed at which the Scottish Government is easing restrictions is ‘too fast’ from 28-29 July to 25-26 August; this has increased since 28-29 July, with 17% reporting this at the most recent time point.

Returning to normal

Respondents were also asked whether they would feel comfortable doing a range of activities in the next month. As shown in Figure 24, the proportion of respondents who felt comfortable going to a café or restaurant increased during July and August, to three fifths. The majority felt comfortable going to their usual place of work, while levels of comfort in going to a bar or pub in August were low.

Parents of school aged children were also asked about how comfortable they would be with their children going (back to) school when schools re-opened in August, and later, how comfortable they were with this return. Since schools have reopened, around three in five parents have felt comfortable with the return.

Figure 24 : Proportions who feel very/fairly comfortable with each activity in the next month [14],[15]
Chart description below

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1001-1012)

Chart Description

This figure shows a line graph with four lines. One line shows the proportion of respondents who feel very or fairly comfortable ‘with my child(ren) going back to school’ in the next month from 21-22 July to 25-26 August; this has decreased slightly since 21-22 July, with 61% reporting this at the most recent time point. The second line shows the proportion of respondents who feel very or fairly comfortable ‘going to a café or restaurant’ in the next month from 21-22 July to 25-26 August; this has increased, with 59% reporting this at the most recent time point. The third line shows the proportion of respondents who feel very or fairly comfortable ‘going back to usual place of work’ in the next month from 28-29 July to 25-26 August; this has remained fairly stable, with 66% reporting this at the most recent time period. The fourth line shows the proportion of respondents who report feeling very or fairly comfortable ‘going to a bar or pub’ in the next month from 11-12 August to 25-26 August; this has remained stable, with 29% reporting this at the most recent time period.

Respondents were shown a list of places and asked which ones they had visited since they re-opened. As shown in Figure 25 the proportion of people visiting
re-opened businesses or facilities rose over July and the beginning of August.

Figure 25: Proportions who have visited each place since they have re-opened [16]
Chart description below

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1001-1012)

Chart Description

This figure shows a bar chart which shows the proportion of respondents who have visited various places since they have re-opened. The proportion of respondents who have visited any non-grocery shop or shopping centre has increased from 14-15 July to 11-12 August, with 45% reporting this at the latest time point. The proportion of respondents who have visited any café, bar or restaurant has increased from 14-15 July to 11-12 August, with 50% reporting this at the latest time point. The proportion of respondents who have visited any hairdresser, barber or beautician has increased from 21-22 July to 11-12 August, with 37% reporting this at the latest time point.

From August respondents were also shown a list of places and asked which ones they had visited in the past week. Figure 26 shows that the most commonly visited places were hospitality venues. The proportions of people who had visited a business, or hospitality venue remained fairly stable throughout August. Roughly one quarter of people indicated that they had not visited any of the listed places.

Figure 26 : Proportions who have visited each place in the past week [14]
Chart description below

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1004-1012)

Chart Description

This figure shows a bar chart which shows the proportion of respondents who have visited various places in the last week from 11-12 August to 25-26 August. The proportion of respondents who have visited any non-grocery shops or shopping centres in the past week has remained stable, with 32% reporting this at the most recent time point. The proportion of respondents who have visited any café, bar or restaurant has remained stable, with 44% reporting this at the most recent time point. The proportion of respondents who have visited any hairdresser, barber or beautician has remained stable, with 14% reporting this at the most recent time point.

Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with statements about their concerns for the future. As shown in Figure 27 around four in five respondents strongly agreed or agreed that they did not want to rush into things as restrictions change during July and August.

Figure 27 : Proportion who agreed with the statement 'Even though the restrictions are changing, I don't want to rush into doing things'
Chart description below

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1001-1012)

Chart Description

This figure shows a line graph with one line. The line shows the proportion of respondents who strongly agreed or agreed with the statement ‘Even though the restrictions are changing, I don’t want to rush into doing things’ from 7-8 July to 25-26 August; this has remained stable with 80% reporting this at the most recent time point.

As shown in Figure 28 just under half of respondents agreed that they felt anxious about resuming normal activities after the pandemic, and there was a small increase in the proportion who agreed that climate change is as serious as Coronavirus is in the long term.

Figure 28 : Proportion who agreed with each statement
Chart description below

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1008-1012)

Chart Description

This figure shows a line graph with two lines. One line shows the proportion of respondents who strongly agreed or agreed with the statement ‘In the long term, climate change is as serious a crisis as coronavirus (covid-19) is’ from 28-29 July to 25-26 August; this has increased slightly, with 64% reporting this at the most recent time point. The second line shows the proportion of respondents who strongly agreed or agreed with the statement ‘Thinking about resuming normal activities after the pandemic makes me feel anxious’ from 28-29 July to 25-26 August; this has remained stable, with 44% reporting this at the most recent time point.


Contact

Email: covid-19.behaviours@gov.scot