Information

Barriers to adherence with COVID-19 restrictions

This report presents information from qualitative research into people’s experiences about how they understand and feel able to adhere to coronavirus restrictions.

This document is part of a collection


2. What restrictions respondents found most difficult to follow and why

Travel restrictions

The most commonly reported restrictions and guidance that people found difficult to follow were travel restrictions. Several respondents noted some confusion about how such restrictions were applied, as well as what restrictions meant for those living near local authority boundaries.

“Travel restrictions most difficult. I care for a sister who lives in a different Council area 15 miles from my home…She was in a level 4 area while I was in a level 3 area and I was unsure whether I could continue helping her” woman aged 70+, retired, not disabled

“It’s hard to know where you are allowed to travel to. Which parts of the Pentlands can I walk in for example. Where does Edinburgh end and Midlothian begin?!” man aged 45-54, employed full time, not disabled

“The travel restrictions have hit me hard as well because my family live in another city so I haven’t been able to see them as often as I would have liked” woman aged 35-34, employed full time, not disabled

“Where can you travel to e.g. 5 miles for exercise but from where – your house or the local authority border?” woman aged 45-54, employed full time, not disabled

“Where I stay is right on the cusp of the border with other LA areas and so I found this confusing and it increased my anxiety that I would be ‘caught’ going to my local Asda once per week for the family shop” man aged 45-54, employed full time, not disabled

Restrictions on gatherings and socialising

A large number of respondents also shared how difficult they found restrictions on meeting other households. Respondents mentioned missing loved ones, and limited opportunities to meet people.

“It’s difficult not seeing the people that are most important to you face to face but we are lucky with today’s technology” woman aged 45-54, employed full time, disabled

“Not being allowed to visit children and grandchildren is the hardest of all” woman aged 55-64, retired, not disabled

“Lack of ability to meet others, particularly now evenings are dark. I’m a single parent with a 19 year old student living at home so can’t bubble…single people have immense difficulty” woman aged 45-54, employed full time, not disabled

“I miss the support they give me and my husband and daughter, I miss being able to support them, I just miss the people I love” woman aged 35-44, employed full time, not disabled

Restrictions on indoor home gatherings, including the rationale behind such restrictions, were noted by many.

“The hardest part is not being allowed to have anyone round…a someone living on my own I would like to be able to have a friend round for a cup of coffee” woman aged 45-54, employed full time, no disabled

“If our child could see her grandparents inside a café…why can’t she see them in their own home…we find it non-sensical and frustrating but have stuck to it anyway” woman aged 45-54, employed full time, not disabled

“My parents are elderly and live 5 mins away from me. I am utterly desperate to be able to go into their house and sit down to have a cup of tea and a chat with them” woman aged 35-44, employed full time, disabled

The financial impact of restrictions on gatherings were also highlighted.

“Financial insecurity and having to spend more money in public spaces to socialise outside your household, rather than more cheaply in your house” woman aged 25-34, employed full time, not disabled

“I do not have the finances to go out for a meal whenever I need to see another household” woman aged 25-34, employed full time, not disabled

Compliance of other people

Many respondents commented that seeing other people not following the rules was frustrating, particularly when affecting relationships with family and friends.

“My teenagers are constantly upset because their friends are meeting indoors and ignoring the restrictions, it feels like we are punishing them by following guidelines” woman aged 35-44, employed full time, not disabled

“There is much due to social pressure. Some of my friends do not follow the rules and still meet up at each other ’s homes. It is therefore hard to constantly have to reject joining them and it makes me worried about how it might affect our relationships in the future” man aged 25-34, employed part time, disabled

“People not following or blatantly ignoring the rules and putting me at risk” man aged 55-64, employed part time, disabled

“Family members not appreciating the danger of mixing households and the risks to everyone” man aged 18-24, studying at school, college or university, not disabled

Many respondents specifically highlighted the impact of other people not keeping physically distanced.

“Other people do not stick with the 2 metres guidance so it makes it difficult to always follow this myself as others come too close” woman aged 25-34, employed full time, not disabled

“Shops and pavements are frequently too cramped to properly distance from others and other people often disregard the distancing rules” man aged 25-34, employed full time, not disabled

Understanding and trusting guidance

Many respondents also commented that it was difficult to keep track of what current restrictions were in place. Specific comments referenced guidance changing too often, difficulty understanding changes, and national variation.

“Knowing where exactly I am allowed to travel because it has varied…working out what to do if the Levels change can be confusing” man aged 70+, retired, disabled

“There has been too much conflicting information on TV/online/sent in emails. Which makes for Covid-19 Overload. I stopped paying attention quite a while ago because of this. Better to follow my own common sense” woman aged 55-64, disabled

“It would have been beneficial to have a UK approach with Tiers in use across the country and these could be administered by the devolved administrations etc” man aged 70+, retired, not disabled

“The complexity of these rules long ago went past the stage when they could be effective. Public health measures need to be understood to be effective” woman aged 45-54, employed full time, not disabled

Several respondents also noted challenges in trusting guidance from official sources because of perceived lack of evidence and failings of government.

“Knowing that care home residents were not protected and the Government had failed in this respect made it difficult to trust what the Government was telling me” woman aged 45-54, employed full time, disabled

“Lack of concrete evidence for many of the rules of restrictions. Seemingly contradictory advice and guidance. Lack of clear leadership from government” woman aged 45-54, employed full time, not disabled

Caring responsibilities

Many respondents also noted difficulties related to their caring responsibilities for family members, specifically related to not understanding guidance and adapting to keep people safe.

“Supporting vulnerable person – not clear at times what is allowed” woman aged 55-64, employed full time, not disabled

“Unpaid Carer for my son who has recently moved into his own home. Tried to limit contact but difficult when having to recruit more staff to support him” woman aged 45-54, employed full time, not disabled

“Difficult to always know what to do for my 84 year old dad who lives on his own in a different LA area” woman aged 55-64, employed part time, not disabled

“Not visiting my Mum at home…as she lives on her own and she often needs help to bits and bobs – I couldn’t call myself her carer though” woman aged 35-44, employed full time, not disabled

“Travel to support my Dad concerns me, but he requires the support” woman aged 55-64, employed part time, not disabled

Health conditions and disability

Several respondents noted the impact of their own health conditions, particularly on interacting with others.

“I’m clinically vulnerable, but I miss seeing people so much. I miss the office, I miss my friends. I miss being a human” woman aged 25-34, employed full time, disabled

“I use a wheelchair and I need help to go anywhere at all. If I am to meet anyone then it has to be inside due to my health issues” woman aged 55-64, retired, disabled

“Communication barriers – Closed face masks are difficult to follow and they are unsuitable for people with deafness. It covers bottom half of facial expressions and mouth/lip movements and also the sound of a voice muffled when talking” man aged 65-69, self-employed, not disabled

“Deafness and the need to communicate to keep me from lowering mood. It’s been very isolating” man aged 55-64, retired, disabled

Other respondents who work with disabled people noted confusion around changing restrictions and challenges communicating.

“I work with individuals with learning disability and they really struggle when the restrictions change as they find it confusing” woman aged 35-44, employed full time, not disabled

“I work with people with dementia, strokes and brain injuries, learning difficulties and disabilities. Communication with these groups can be difficult using technology, particularly since I have a mild hearing impairment myself” woman aged 35-44, employed full time, not disabled

Schooling and childcare

Several respondents also noted challenges related to schooling, including the detrimental impact on learning, limited support for home learning, and difficulties arranging childcare.

“My son not wanting to go to school but not receiving support to learn at home” woman aged 35-44, employed full time, disabled

“The schools are still open. This is causing a huge amount of stress with the whole family. My son has had to self isolate 3 times now, missing 6 weeks of school and is still expected to sit higher exams…there is no support for home learning due to the schools being open which is causing a great deal of inequality in learning” woman aged 35-44, employed full time, disabled

“Having a toddler is difficult at the best of times. Both my partner and I are nurses, it has been difficult to obtain child care whilst observing lockdown policy. Also, engaging in activity with our child has been difficult” man aged 35-44, employed full time, not disabled

Contact

Email: covid-19.behaviours@gov.scot

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