Public transport, flights and team sport — people wary about resuming everyday activities

Large numbers of people are uncomfortable with the idea of attending concerts or matches; going to the pub; using public transport; or sending children to a creche.
Public transport, flights and team sport — people wary about resuming everyday activities
More than one-fifth of people say they are 'very uncomfortable' going to a bar with two metres' social distancing.
More than one-fifth of people say they are 'very uncomfortable' going to a bar with two metres' social distancing.

Large numbers of people are uncomfortable with the idea of attending concerts or matches; going to the pub; using public transport; or sending children to a creche.

Even with social distancing in place, many everyday activities are prompting concern, according to new figures revealed by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The study explores how people feel about the reopening of society, with almost 1,700 people surveyed about attending events and bars, travelling on public transport or going for a haircut.

The findings indicate that many people are wary about the speed of reopening society, with many people uncomfortable resuming everyday activities.

More than one-fifth of people say they are 'very uncomfortable' going to a bar with two metres' social distancing, and just 27% say they are comfortable or very comfortable with this.

When distancing is reduced to one metre, those who are 'very uncomfortable' almost doubles to 39.5%, with just 21% describing themselves as 'comfortable' or 'very comfortable'.

The figures are similar for attending restaurants and are in stark contrast to claims by pub representative groups and brewers, who claim that some 70% of people plan to go to a pub during the first month of reopening.

The CSO's research shows that men feel more comfortable with the idea of going to the pub, and older people are most likely to be concerned with the idea of going.

More than 60% of over 70s are concerned with one-metre social distancing rules.

For most people, the idea of indoor social gatherings at home seems like a better option, with 46% of people reporting they are very comfortable or comfortable with the idea of having six people from outside their home over to socialise.

The research also found that people are not planning to return to large outdoor events any time soon.

Just 8.8% of people said they would be comfortable or very comfortable attending a sporting event or concert with no social distancing.

While bars, restaurants and planes are likely to operate below capacity for a while, one industry expecting to be overwhelmed by demand is the hairdressing sector.

Despite the pent-up demand, though, less than half of women say they are comfortable attending the hairdressers, and just 34.9% of men are happy to go to a barber.

Men are more likely to attend a shopping centre, though, while large numbers also say they are happy to resume healthcare appointments.

Almost two-thirds are happy to visit the doctor, and almost half would attend a hospital or dental appointment without discomfort.

When it comes to people's attitudes towards childcare, almost three-in-five are not comfortable sending children back to the creche yet, and more than half are unhappy with the idea of their child playing team sports with close physical contact.

Travel is also an area of concern for most people.

Almost two-thirds of people are uncomfortable or very uncomfortable at the idea of using public transport, with those who are working from home particularly unhappy about the idea of using a bus or train, while almost four-fifths of people are uncomfortable at the idea of flying, and two-thirds are uncomfortable about taking a ferry trip.

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