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
5. Festive period

5. Festive period

At the end of November a UK-wide relaxation of Coronavirus restrictions for the festive period was announced, to allow people to travel and spend Christmas together in "bubbles" with other households between 23 and 27 December 2020. Guidance changed following 19 December, to take into account new developments of the virus, with the planned relaxation tightened.[10] This chapter presents public opinions and insights from polling data related to these events, the festive period and New Year.

Views towards festive restrictions

In mid-November, a majority (around three fifths) agreed that they would support restrictions like those then in place being continued over the festive period. However, concerns about the impact of not seeing friends or family on mental health were also high, with seven in ten agreeing that this should not be overlooked.

Figure 29: Proportion who agreed/disagreed with the statements shown

One bar chart per statement, 58%-69% strongly/ tend to agree, 11%-22% strongly/tend to disagree

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey (17-18 Nov). Base (n=1009)

In early December, around three in ten agreed that they support the relaxation of restrictions, while over four in ten disagreed. The vast majority agreed that the safest thing to do is stay within your own household during the festive period.

Figure 30: Proportion who agreed/disagreed with the statements shown

One bar chart per statement. 79% agree with staying at home is the safest thing to do

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey (1-2 Dec). Base (n=1020)

Respondents were asked what they thought about the level of relaxation of restrictions planned for the festive period. Around three fifths reported the level of relaxation to be too relaxed, and under a quarter reported it to be about right. Less than one in ten reported the restrictions to be not relaxed enough. This remained stable in the first two weeks of December.

Figure 31: Views on the relaxation of restrictions during the festive period

60%-61% viewed restrictions as too relaxed, 23%-25% about right, 8% not relaxed enough

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

Around a third of respondents indicated they had concerns about their mental health over the festive period, as shown in Figure 32.

Figure 32: Proportion who agreed with the statement 'I am worried about my mental health over the festive period'

Worry about mental health during festive period stayed stable at 34% in November and 32% in December

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1004-1020)

Intentions/ actions over festive period

Before the festive period, respondents were asked whether they planned to take advantage of any easing of restrictions. With easing ultimately limited to Christmas Day, at the end of December respondents were asked whether or not they had taken advantage of the relaxation of the rules.

As shown in Figure 33 just under two fifths reported that they intended to, while around a half reported they did not. There was a slight decline in the proportion who did not know or had not decided during the first two weeks of December. However, following the festive period, with those undecided allocated, the proportion who said that they took advantage increased.

Figure 33: Intentions to take advantage of the easing of restrictions before the festive period and whether actually took advantage of the easing of restrictions

48%-54% no, 36%-45% yes, 11%-15% don’t know/not decided (down to 2% after holidays)

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

Before the festive period, respondents were provided a list of possible activities and asked which, if any, they intended to do over the festive period (24 to 27 December). Following 25 December respondents were asked whether or not they had undertaken any of these activities.

As shown in Figure 34, just over a quarter reported that they planned to have a celebration with their own household, and around a fifth planned to have a celebration with people from another household, which was within the guidance at the time. Only a small proportion planned to have family or friends stay, or to go on holiday. Actual activities claimed post-Christmas mostly reflected these intentions and the new guidance, with three in ten celebrating with their own household. Around one in ten celebrated with up to eight friends or family in their or someone else's home, lower than had been planned.

Figure 34: Proportion planning each activity for over festive period (and undertaken) [11]

Most common were celebrating with own/up to 3 households, travel within Local Authority or Scotland

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

New Year

There was no easing of Coronavirus restrictions over the New Year period. When asked about New Year at the beginning of December, around one in ten agreed that they "intend to celebrate at New Year even if it means bending the rules". A much higher proportion (seven in ten) agreed that they "are worried about other people not following the guidance for New Year celebrations".

Figure 35: Proportion who agreed/disagreed with the statements shown

75% disagree with bending the rules, 71% agree they worry others won’t follow the rules

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey (8-9 Dec). Base (n=1002)


Contact

Email: covid-19.behaviours@gov.scot