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

3. Whether respondents found it easier to follow local restrictions in operation during December 2020 than the national lockdown from March to June 2020

Harder now – confusion, fatigue, winter weather, and the compliance of others

A large number of respondents mentioned that the national lockdown between March and June 2020 was easier to understand, and so easier to follow than the Levels system. In particular, current rules were described as confusing and hard to keep up with.

“I have no idea what the restrictions are for all the different elements of my life and my children's lives” woman aged 45-54, employed part time, not disabled

“We all knew just where we were. Now there are so man different bits of info which can be interpreted differently according to people’s perceptions” woman aged 65-69, employed part time, disabled

“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

Many respondents expressed fatigue and weariness about the length of time the virus and restriction measures have been about. Some noted that they are finding it hard to face restrictions again after these were relaxed.

“Needs more dedication now - people are tired and tired of the rules. Life feels as if it is on hold and will never be the same again. So it’s harder now” woman aged 55-64, employed part time, not disabled

“The longer restrictions go on for the harder it is. It’s difficult to go back to some level of normality (e.g. meet friends, go to cinema) and then that to be unavailable again” woman aged 35-44, employed full time, not disabled

Some respondents noted that dark nights, and cold and wet weather made these restrictions harder to follow compared to the previous national lockdown, both practically and emotionally.

“Much harder. This is mostly due to living on my own and trying to cope with the restrictions when getting out is a little harder now, dues to the colder/wetter weather and the evenings are so long and dark. I feel very isolated” woman aged 55-64, not working due to long-term illness or disability

“We've really exhausted all the local walks and play parks and it's getting colder and wetter and harder to keep everyone busy” woman aged 25-34, employed part time, not disabled

“Because of the dark nights and colder weather [it’s] much more difficult to feel positive and to meet people out of doors” woman aged 55 64, employed part time, not disabled

Perceptions that people are not taking social distancing or restrictions as seriously as last March were also evident in respondents' accounts. In particular, distancing in shops was mentioned several times as a concern.

“Compliance appears to have reduced. It is harder to not go to visit family and friends when most people are travelling for work” woman aged 35-44, employed full time, not disabled

“Earlier in the year there was more attention paid to social distancing especially in supermarkets/shops etc. That has completely gone now and commonly I find people barging by with no heed paid at all to social distancing” woman aged 45-54, employed full time, not disabled

Easier now – more freedom and familiarity

Several respondents described the December restrictions as easier as they found the relaxation of some rules gave them more flexibility and choice over what they can do. Others noted they found it easier than lockdown as, over time, they have adapted their lives to a 'new normal'.

“School has assisted with this since it enables a routine and less onus on the parents. In saying that, I do feel some nervousness around transmission in school and passing to parents/ family members” woman aged 45-54, working part time, not disabled

“Slightly easier as the travel restrictions are extended to local authority but this is the restriction we find most tempted to break” woman aged 45-54, working full time, disabled

“I feel as a family we have found our routine with it now and are accepting that this is our life at the moment” woman aged 45-54, working full time, not disabled

“Easier (but it's still difficult), probably because it's become a way of life now” woman aged 45-54, working full time, disabled



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