Most Canadians remain reluctant to resume many everyday activities, even as provinces and cities begin to relax restrictions imposed as part of measures to fight the spread of Covid-19, a new study released Monday by Statistics Canada suggests.
According to the survey, Canadians reported being “very concerned” about the health risks of resuming shows, festivals, movies or sporting events (66%), travelling by airplane (64%), gathering in larger groups (57%) such as weddings and religious services, or visiting a retirement home or long‑term care facility (55%).
Fewer than 10% of surveyed respondents reported being “not concerned at all” about resuming those activities.
The survey was undertaken June 15 to 21 as part of Statistics Canada’s Canadian Perspectives Survey Series. A sample of respondents, representative of the Canadian population, was asked if they were “very concerned,” “somewhat concerned” or “not concerned at all” with resuming certain activities, as well as the measures they intended to adopt to reduce the risk of Covid‑19 transmission.
Fewer than four of 10 respondents reported being very concerned about the health risks of returning to bars or restaurants (38%) and participating in organized sports or going to the gym (38%). However, about half (50% and 47%, respectively) reported being somewhat concerned about resuming those activities.
Only 24% of respondents reported being very concerned about shopping in stores and malls, but 62% reported being somewhat concerned.
“Many people may feel torn between the need to resume their activities and the fear of a second wave of the virus,” noted the study’s authors.
“In addition, some provincial and municipal governments have made it mandatory to wear masks in indoor public spaces, and this has led to changes in how some activities take place. Relaxing lockdown measures may therefore constitute a source of anxiety and concern for these people, who are more reluctant to resume their activities and are more concerned about health risks.”
The survey also found regional differences in the level of concern, with Ontario residents generally more concerned about the health risks of resuming activities than those of Quebec and the Prairie provinces.
“Not all provinces have been equally affected by the pandemic, and reopening strategies vary from region to region,” noted the study’s authors.
Among other things, residents of Ontario were more concerned about relaxing measures for shows, festivals, movies or sporting events (73%, compared with 57% in Quebec and 56% in the Prairies), for gathering in larger groups (63%, compared with 49% in Quebec and 48% in the Prairies) and participating in organized sports or going to the gym (44%, compared with 33% in the Prairies and 29% in Quebec).
However, residents of other provinces were just as concerned as residents of Ontario when it came to visiting people in retirement homes and long-term care facilities.