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Perpetual pandemic: Canadians say post-COVID-19 ‘return to normal’ is far off

Remember when we went to the movies, or when summer vacation plans included getting on planes? What day is it today, anyway? For Canadians greeting each sunrise to begin a day eerily similar to the last, the cycle of self-isolating, staying home, and not doing too much may be beginning to grate.

Nonetheless, the latest public opinion data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians resigned to their fate for the long haul.

Seven-in-ten (68%) now see a timeline for a full return to normal life – post-COVID-19 – as at least six months away. This represents a stark increase in the number of Canadians holding this view from March (30%) and April (43%).

For the vast majority (79%), their primary concern continues to be the risk of illness for friends and family, compared to 59 per cent who say they are worried about their personal risk.

The good news is that for many, the potential economic turmoil foreseen in the early days of the pandemic has not been realized. While a number did not pay their rent in full (13%) last month or have had to reduce the quality of their groceries (16%), this is a fraction of the number who were worried about these situations occurring back in March (in each case at least three-in-ten did).

And as provinces begin to slowly lift restrictions and outline plans for a cautious opening up of communities and their economies, Canadians continue to be of the opinion that it is too soon to reopen many of the businesses and institutions where they live. Seven-in-ten say it is too soon to go to elementary schools (71%), places of worship (69%), gyms (73%), and other places in their neighbourhoods.

More Key Findings:

  • One-in-three Quebec residents say that elementary schools should be re-opened. A similar number of respondents in each region with the exceptions of Ontario (15%) and Atlantic Canada (15%) agree
  • Among those who pay residential rent, 87 per cent say they were able to pay in full last month. 13 per cent had their rent either reduced, deferred, or waived
  • The 59 per cent of Canadians who are personally concerned about becoming sick with COVID-19 represents a 14-point drop from the previous month. One-in-five Canadians (20%) remain ‘very concerned’ about becoming sick

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