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Public attitudes to coronavirus: November update

This report presents findings from polling work, conducted between March and August 2021, on public attitudes to the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland.

This document is part of a collection


4. Compliance

This section presents data about public awareness of, and reaction to, Coronavirus measures.

Following the guidance

Respondents were provided with statements about government advice and guidance, and asked about the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with each. Throughout this period, between 20% and 28% of respondents agreed with the statement I am finding it hard to always stick to the government guidelines’. At the end of August (24-25), 20% of respondents agreed that they found it hard to always stick to government guidelines.

Figure 17: Proportion who agree/disagree with the statement ‘I am finding it hard to always stick to government guidelines’
Bar chart showing between 20-28% agreed, this was at its highest at 29-30 June.

Source: YouGov Scotland survey. Base: Adults (n=807-1063)

Compliance with restrictions

Respondents were asked to what extent, on a scale of 1-7, they felt they were following the regulations and guidance on what to do and not to do during the Coronavirus pandemic.[12] Levels of compliance have remained high throughout this period. At the beginning of March, three quarters of respondents reported ‘majority’ compliance (score 6-7) and just under one quarter (23%) ‘lower’ compliance (score 1-5). During April and May, ‘majority’ compliance ranged between 66%-74% and ‘lower’ compliance between 24%-31%. From June through to August, around two thirds of respondents reported ‘majority’ compliance, and under a third (28%-31%) lower levels of compliance.

Figure 18: Proportion who rated their compliance as 1-5 (lower) or 6-7 (majority)
Line chart showing between 65% and 77% of respondents rated their compliance 6 or 7, and 21 and 31% as 1 to 5.

Source: YouGov Scotland survey. Base: Adults (n=980-1063)

We asked respondents to indicate which activities (from a list) they had undertaken in the previous week. Separate questions covered indoor meetings, outdoor meetings, travel and transport. We then grouped together as 'non-compliant' anything in contravention of the regulations at the time.[13]

As shown in Figure 19, at the beginning of March, 7% of respondents reported non-compliant behaviour in transport (such as travel in a car without a face covering with someone not in their household, or travel on public transport without a face covering). This increased to 21% at the end of July.

At the beginning of March, when there was strict guidance around indoor meetings, 23% reported any ‘non-compliant’ behaviour indoors (such as meeting up indoors with more than one person over 12 years old from another household). By 4/5 May, this increased to 31% and by 27-28 July, it had fallen to 21%. ‘Non-compliant’ behaviour outdoors has varied between 9% and 19%. At the beginning of March, 10% of respondents reported ‘non-compliant’ travel (including travel for non-essential reasons when ‘Stay at Home’ guidance was in place). By the end of July, this had fallen to 0% (when ‘non-compliant’ behaviour included travel for non-essential purposes to a ‘red list’ country).

Figure 19: Proportion who engaged in any non-compliant behaviour in the past week:
Line chart showing fluctuation between 2-3 March and 27-28 July across ‘non-compliant’ behaviour indoors, outdoors, travel and transport.

Source: YouGov Scotland survey. Base: Adults (n=807-1063)

From March through to July, respondents were also asked if they have been adapting the guidance as they did not think everything was necessary. There was an increase in the proportion of respondents who agreed with the statement ‘I have been adapting the guidance as I don’t think everything is necessary’, from just under 1 in 5 (18%) on 2-3 March to just over a quarter (26%) on 13-14 July.

Figure 20: Proportion who agreed/disagreed with the statement 'I have been adapting the guidance as I don't think everything is necessary'
Bar chart showing an increase from 18% on 2-3 March to 26% on 13-14 July in those who agree they have been adapting the guidance.

Source: YouGov Scotland survey. Base: Adults (n=1001-1028)

As shown in Figure 21, between March and May, 71% to 78% of respondents said they either ‘tend to’ or ‘strongly’ agree that ‘It is more important now than ever to stick to the rules’. In June, this declined to 66%.

Figure 21: Proportion who agreed/disagreed with the statement ‘It’s more important now than ever to stick to the rules’
Bar chart showing a decrease from 73% on 9-10 March to 66% on 29-30 June in those who agree.

Source: YouGov Scotland survey. Base: Adults (n=807-1063)

Protective measures

Respondents were asked how important they felt different measures are for keeping Coronavirus under control. Throughout this period, a high proportion of respondents rated the protective measures as being ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ important. Respondents have consistently rated ‘washing/sanitising hands’ as being the most important measure (88%-94%), and opening windows/doors (when with people from outside of the household) as the least important (75%-79%). Over time, there has been a small decline in how important respondents think some of the protective measures are particularly washing/sanitising hands, keeping either 1m (or previously 2m) away, wearing face coverings, and avoiding crowded/busy places.

Figure 22: Proportion who rated the following as 'very' or 'fairly important' in helping to keep the spread of Coronavirus under control [14]
Protective Measure 6/7 Apr 4/5 May 1/2 Jun 13/14 Jul 10/11 Aug 24/25 Aug
Opening windows/doors* if with people from different household 79% 76% 76% 76% 75% 77%
Only meeting outdoors in the fresh air** 84% 79% 77% Not asked Not asked Not asked
Meeting others outdoors in the fresh air whenever possible Not asked Not asked Not asked 80% 82% 83%
Wearing a face covering 86% 86% 84% 83% 81% 80%
Washing/sanitising hands*** 94% 93% Not asked 90% 90% 88%
Avoiding crowded/busy places 93% 89% 88% 88% 86% 84%
Self-isolating and testing at the first sign of symptoms Not asked Not asked 92% 91% 89% Not asked
Staying at least 2m/1m**** away from others not in household 87% 83% 80% Not asked Not asked 78%

Source: YouGov Scotland survey. Base: Adults (n=1001-1055)

Respondents were also asked how well they thought they were doing various activities. Throughout this period, a high proportion of respondents report that they are adhering to each of the protective measures either ‘very’ or ‘fairly well’. Over 90% of respondents have consistently reported they are wearing a face covering, if required, either ‘very’ or ‘fairly well’. A lower proportion of respondents have reported they are opening windows/doors when with people from different households, although this has increased slightly since April (from 69% in April to 74% in August). There has been a decline in those who report avoiding crowded/busy places well (from 94% in April to 85% in August) and those who feel they are maintaining physical distancing from others not in their household (from 86% in April to 77% in August).

Figure 23: Proportion who reported doing each protective measure 'very' or 'fairly’ well [15]
Protective Measure 6/7 Apr 4/5 May 1/2 Jun 13/14 Jul 10/11 Aug 24/25 Aug
Opening windows/doors* if with people from different household 69% 70% 72% 74% Not asked 74%
Only meeting outdoors in the fresh air** 89% 84% 79% Not asked Not asked Not asked
Meeting others outdoors in the fresh air whenever possible Not asked Not asked Not asked 82% Not asked 78%
Wearing a face covering 95% 93% 94% 91% Not asked 93%
Washing/sanitising hands*** 89% 88% 84% 89% Not asked 88%
Avoiding crowded/busy places 94% 92% 90% 88% Not asked 85%
Staying at least 2m/1m**** away from others not in household 86% 83% 80% 79% Not asked 77%

Source: YouGov Scotland survey. Base: Adults (n=1001-1055)

Working from home

As shown in Figure 24, at the beginning of March, 29% of respondents were working from home. By the end of April, this dropped slightly to just over a quarter and has remained at similar levels throughout May, June, July and August. On 2-3 March, 8% of respondents said they were currently furloughed/placed on the job support scheme. This has declined throughout subsequent polling and had fallen to 1% by 24-25 August.

Figure 24: Current working situation for respondents who are not retired
Bar chart showing a small decline in those who are working from home, from 29% on 2-3 March to 26% on 24-25 August, and a decline in those who are furloughed, from 8% to 1%.

Source: YouGov Scotland survey. Base: Adults not retired (n=742-767)

Self-isolation

For respondents who had reported experience of, or possible contact with, Coronavirus over the preceding three months, they were asked what actions they had taken as a result. Over half of respondents in April 20-21 (56%) and June 29-30 (59%) reported that they had immediately self-isolated.

Figure 25: Proportions who took each action following some experience of, or possible contact with, Coronavirus in the past 3 months
Bar chart showing 56% self-isolated immediately on 20-21 April and 59% on 29-30 June.

Source: YouGov Scotland survey. Base: Adults who had experience of, or contact with, possible Coronavirus since beginning of January 2021 (20-21 April, n=116) and since the beginning of April 2021 (29-30 June, n=90)

Regular testing for Coronavirus

From 26th April, any adult in Scotland has been able to access testing for Coronavirus twice weekly when they don’t have symptoms. Respondents were asked their awareness that everyone could access tests in this way. As shown in Figure 26, at the end of April (27-28), 66% of respondents were aware of this ability to receive twice weekly tests. This rose by the end of August (24-25) to 84% of respondents. From 29-30 June respondents were also asked if they had ordered or collected tests available in this way since 26th April. This rose from 37% of the total sample at the end of June to 50% of respondents at the end of August.

Figure 26: Proportion who are aware that everyone can access twice weekly Coronavirus tests and proportion who have ordered or collected tests available in this way
Bar chart showing that from 27-28 April to 24-25 August awareness increased from 66% to 84%, and those who accessed tests increased from 37% to 50% (from 29-30 June to 24-25 August).

Source: YouGov Scotland survey. Base: All Scottish Adults (n=980-1063)

Contact

Email: covid-19.behaviours@gov.scot

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