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When restrictions lift, most would wait at least two weeks before resuming routines

As debates simmer over how to continue to squash the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 without completely depriving the economy of oxygen, most Canadians are girding themselves up for at least another four to eight weeks of social distancing – if not longer.

The latest public opinion survey from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians have a palpable sense of apprehension at the prospect of their own provincial governments lifting the restrictions that have all but ended most public contact over the last six weeks. Indeed, three-quarters (77%) say it is too soon to begin relaxing social distancing requirements and business closures.

And while a significant segment of Canadians (39%) say both the impacts of the shutdown on the protection of public safety and on businesses and the economy should carry equal weight with policy makers, the tilt towards erring on the side of reducing infection risk remains (52% would give this factor the most weight). As well, majorities in each part of the country say their own province should lift restrictions either between one to two months from now (46%) or three to six months from now (28%).

Further, the prospect of an officially sanctioned relaxing of distancing rules would prompt very few Canadians to resume former routines immediately. Most say they would wait, for a couple of weeks, or until the number of new COVID-19 known cases in their provinces had declined significantly, before ending self-isolation.

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More Key Findings:

  • Nearly half of Canadians (46%) say restrictions in their own province should lift sometime in May or June, with another 28 per cent saying that they should stay in place until between July and October
  • Concern about personally contracting the virus has fallen for the first time since early March, dropping from 73 per cent two weeks ago to 61 per cent. Canadians are primarily concerned about spreading the virus to others (70%) rather than becoming sick themselves (30%)
  • Two-thirds of Canadians (67%) say that the federal government has done a good job of handling the COVID-19 outbreak. Slightly fewer, but still a majority (62%) say this of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Read the rest of the story here: www.angusreid.org/covid19-return-to-normal

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