Publication - Research and analysis

Public attitudes to Coronavirus: January update

Published: 29 Jan 2021

This report includes some high level findings from recent polling work on public attitudes to the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland.

Public attitudes to Coronavirus: January update
3. Compliance

3. Compliance

Views on guidance

As well as tracking the impacts of Coronavirus on people's finances and health, polling surveys have been used to monitor people's attitudes to the Coronavirus response. This section presents data about public awareness of, and reaction to, Coronavirus measures.

It is important to note that during November and December, restrictions varied by Local Authority and at a national level. Findings should be interpreted in light of this. More information about these changes can be found in Annex B.

Respondents were provided with statements about government advice and guidance, and asked about the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with each. Figure 13 shows that the percentage of respondents who agreed that the best thing to do is to follow the government's advice increased between the start of November and the end of December. The proportion of respondents finding it hard to always stick to the government rules was around one quarter during November and December.

Figure 13: Proportion who agreed with the statements shown

Slight increase in those believing the best thing is to follow the government’s advice from 73%-78%

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1002-1020)

Views on recent restrictions

A system of Covid protection levels came into effect on 2 November. Under this system, each local authority was assigned one of five different levels, from 0 to 4, based on five indicators, with levels reviewed on a weekly basis. With most areas in levels 3 or 4 prior to Christmas, [6] restrictions were eased on Christmas Day, and from Boxing Day, all of mainland Scotland moved to Level 4 restrictions.[7]

Respondents were asked to what extent they agreed with statements about these protection levels. The proportion who supported different restrictions in different areas of Scotland depending on the local situation (including number of cases, rate of infection, hospital capacity, etc.) remained stable at around three quarters during November.[8] The proportion who agreed that they were happy to follow stricter restrictions if it stops the situation getting worse also remained broadly stable during November, but increased to over four in five at the end of December.

Figure 14: Proportion who agreed with the statements shown

Those supporting different restrictions and happy to follow stricter restrictions remained stable

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1002-1020)

Compliance with restrictions

Respondents were asked to assess their compliance with Coronavirus guidance on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1 is 'not at all' and 7 is 'completely'. The proportion rating their compliance as 6 or 7 out of 7 remained stable at between three quarters and four fifths throughout November and December. Around one fifth rated their compliance lower with a score of between 1 and 5, was also stable in the period analysed.

Figure 15: Proportion who rated their compliance as 1-5 or 6-7 out of 7

Compliance 6-7 fluctuated between 73% and 79%, 1-5 remained stable

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1002-1020)

As shown in Figure 16, around a fifth of respondents agreed that they had been adapting the guidance as they do not think everything is necessary, with the same proportion neither agreeing nor disagreeing. The majority of respondents indicated that they had not been adapting the guidance.

Figure 16: Proportion who agreed/disagreed with the statement 'I have been adapting the guidance as I don't think everything is necessary'

Stable at 56%-60% for those who strongly/tend to disagree and 20%-22% who strongly/tend to agree

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1002-1004)

Respondents were asked at the start of November whether they agreed that following the rules to stop the spread of the virus is a responsibility that lies with all of us. More than four fifths agreed with the statement.

Figure 17: Proportion who agreed/disagreed with the statement 'Following the rules to stop the spread of the virus is a responsibility that lies with all of us'

60% strongly agree, 25% tend to agree, 3% tend to disagree and 5% strongly disagree

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey (3-4 Nov). Base (n=1013)

Respondents were also asked to indicate whether they had engaged in a number of indoor and outdoor activities in the previous week, including meeting up with others in a variety of settings, use of public transport, car sharing and travel. The proportion who admitted any non-compliant activity remained stable at around one quarter across November/December, with the exception of the last week of December, when it dropped to just under one fifth.

Figure 18: Proportion who engaged in any non-compliant activities in the past week

Line graph shows fluctuation, but the proportion decreased from 25% to 19% at the end of December

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1002-1020)

Personal protective actions

Respondents were asked when, if ever, they wear a face covering. As shown in Figure 19, the majority reported to wear a face covering when in indoor settings with other people. A quarter or slightly fewer claimed to wear a face covering when they go on public transport, outdoors when two metre distancing is difficult, or every time they leave the house. Only a small minority reported that they never or hardly ever wear face coverings.

Figure 19: Proportion wearing a face covering by setting

71%-74% use covering indoor with people, 21%-25% on transport/if they can’t distance, 18%-19% everywhere

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1002-1005)

Symptoms

Respondents were provided with a list of symptoms, and asked to identify which, if any, are the symptoms of Coronavirus that people are being asked to watch out for. Figure 20 shows responses to this question in early November and early December.

More than four in five respondents correctly identified a new and continuous cough, a high temperature, or loss of/change in smell or taste as symptoms of Coronavirus we are asked to watch out for.

Figure 20: Respondents' awareness of symptoms

82%-87% are aware of main covid symptoms, 18-21% wrongly identify sore throat, 15%-16% headaches

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1002-1004)

Test and Protect

At the end of November, respondents were asked to what extent they agreed that they worry that not everyone will use Test & Protect if they have symptoms. Just over seven in ten agreed with the statement, with one in five neither agreeing nor disagreeing.

Figure 21: Proportion who agreed/disagreed with the statement 'I worry that not everyone will use Test & Protect if they have symptoms'

29% strongly agree, 43% tend to agree, 21% neither, 4% tend to disagree, 4% strongly disagree

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey (24-25 Nov). Base (n=1002)

Respondents were also asked whether they agreed or disagreed that they would self-isolate and arrange a test through Test & Protect straightaway at the first sign of Coronavirus symptoms, alongside other statements about their willingness to comply with the programme. Figure 22 shows that the vast majority agreed that they would self-isolate and arrange a test through Test & Protect straightaway at the first sign of Coronavirus symptoms, that they would be willing to provide details of those they had been in contact with if they developed symptoms, and that they would be willing to comply with self-isolation guidance. Levels of agreement with each statement did not change between November and December.

Figure 22: Proportion who agreed with the statements shown

Three sets of bar charts, agreement with Test&Protect statements ranges from 83% to 86%

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1002-1004)


Contact

Email: covid-19.behaviours@gov.scot