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
4. Experiences of self-isolation and suggestions to make it easier to self-isolate
The most commonly reported difficulty relating to self-isolation was accessing food and other essential supplies. This was true for all respondents whether or not they had experienced self-isolation. Specifically, respondents noted difficulty accessing supermarket delivery slots, and having friends and family nearby to support them.
“We had to leave home for exercise and to buy food as we have no one to rely on to help us and the online shopping was both prohibitively expensive and inaccessible due to high demand” man aged 25-34, employed full time, not disabled, experience of self-isolation
“I did not have family living nearby and all the supermarket delivery slots were taken. It was difficult to get essentials” woman aged 45-54, employed full time, not disabled, experience of self-isolation
“It was OK but because both people in the home had to isolate we relied on friends for supplies and were concerned that we were therefore putting them at higher risk…despite assurances that supermarkets prioritised online delivery for people having to isolate it was not the case” woman aged 45-54, employed full time, not disabled, experience of self-isolation
“Food shopping as it is impossible to stick to budget when other people doing your shopping” woman aged 55-64, self-employed, not disabled
“Getting food. I don’t really have anyone I could ask to do that for me” woman aged 55-64, not working due to long-term illness or disability
Many respondents noted the impact their living arrangements had, or would have, on their experience of self-isolating. Comments highlight the differences in experiences between respondents with large homes and financial resources, and those in small or potentially crowded housing.
“We have a large house and garden staying home was straightforward. We had already been buying extras to ensure we could cope if we couldn’t go out so getting food wasn’t a problem…don’t have any caring responsibilities…didn’t have financial worries” woman aged 55-64, employed full time, disabled, experience of self-isolation
“For me I would be OK – I can afford online food deliveries and have a lovely garden to go outside, but if people have limited funds and live in flats or with no garden the confinement must be awful” woman aged 55-64, employed full time, not disabled
“I found it very challenging as I had to work from home with my four year old son. As I am currently staying with family whilst I wait for my own home this was crowded and not ideal” woman aged 25-34, employed full time, not disabled, experience of self-isolation
“The house is too small to be able to keep safely away from each other. There’s only one bathroom for instance” woman aged 45-54, not working due to long-term illness or disability
Many respondents highlighted the impact that their financial situation had, or would have, on self-isolating. Specific comments related to being able to afford household bills and food, the impact of reduced and uncertain incomes, and unexpected costs associated with self-isolation, such as paying for dog walkers.
“not being able to heat the house or use electricity, due to no salary not being able to attend work and not getting paid, then worrying how to pay bills and buy food” woman aged 55-64, employed part time, not disabled
“If it happened repeatedly – worrying about the financial impact. I could cope okay with a couple of weeks on SSP [statutory sick pay] but more than that would start to get tricky” woman aged 35-44, employed full time, not disabled
“Only receiving statutory sick pay of £91 per week, this would cause huge financial pressures and debt” woman aged 35-44 employed full time, not disabled
“My partner is on a zero hours contract. If they needed to self-isolate there would be no pay for that period” woman aged 45-54, employed full time, disabled
“I have a dog and no garden – cost for a cheap dog walker is 10 per day. Even then it’s not fair on the dog to only get out for a pee once a day – practically this is just very hard to get around…shopping delivery costs are fairly high” woman aged 25-34, employed full time, not disabled, experience of self-isolation
Many respondents highlighted the impact that that self-isolation had, or would have, on their caring responsibilities, particularly for those who are sole carers.
“As we are carers for my father in law who has dementia it was very difficult managing his care especially when it came to shopping…our young son did not understand the need to self isolate and was getting frequently distressed” woman aged 45-54, employed full time, not disabled, experience of self-isolation
“The main worry was that no one else could attend to my father” woman aged 45-64, employed full time, not disabled, experience of self-isolation
“I have a disabled daughter and an elderly mother who reply on me for shopping, prescriptions and medical appointments” woman aged 45-64, employed full time, not disabled, experience of self-isolation
Suggestions to make self-isolation easier
Respondents suggested a range of ideas including ensuring availability of supermarket delivery slots, financial support, allowing outdoor exercise (including caring for pets), support or befriending phone calls, and greater enforcement.
“A priority food delivery service to make sure you have healthy and fresh food” woman aged 25-34, employed full time, not disabled, experience of self-isolation
“being sent a food money voucher with free delivery for an online shop from a major supermarket” woman aged 55-64, employed part time, not disabled
“Help with shopping, dog walking and a regular call from someone to chat to” woman, aged 70+, retired, disabled
“It should be recognised that not everyone have supportive network around them to do their shopping or walk their dogs” woman, aged 70+, retired, not disabled
“Being able to go for a walk, perhaps early or late, when it is quiet” woman, aged 35-44, employed full time, not disabled
“clearer guidance on self isolation and proper enforcement (it’s very hard to follow guidelines when you see everyone you know bend and break those very same rules with no consequences)” man aged 25-34, employed part time, disabled, experience of self-isolation
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback