People won't be rushing back to restaurants, pubs and shops, poll shows
Even if businesses were to open after COVID-19, a large percentage would stay away
In many countries, there's a lot of talk about reopening economies. In the UK, business owners and government ministers are seeking a safe way to gradually reopen the country in the coming weeks.
However, a YouGov poll shows that even if the government opened businesses up in the UK in the next few weeks, people might not necessarily rush back to shops, restaurants and pubs.
The survey asked people, 'How comfortable or uncomfortable would you feel visiting each of the following places once the government loosens the current lockdown restrictions and they reopen?'
Respondents were asked to consider gyms, shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, barbers, beauty salons, clothing stores and garden centres.
The results showed that the British public are not willing to spring back to pre-lockdown ways of life. In fact, of all the things on this list, the only places that more than 50% of respondents would feel comfortable returning to post-lockdown were garden centres.
Hairdressers and clothing stores were the next highest result; 48% of people were comfortable visiting these places.
Food and drink concerns
Food and drink businesses fared particularly badly in the survey. Only 37% of people said they would feel comfortable returning to restaurants post-lockdown, and only 36% would feel comfortable returning to coffee shops. Even fewer were willing to go to pubs and bars; just 32% of respondents said they would feel comfortable in these places, compared with 63% who said they would not.
Interestingly, there was a noticeable gender difference across most of the areas tested. For example, looking specifically at clothing stores, 54% of men said they would feel comfortable going back, compared to 42% of women. This is peculiar given that the virus seems to affect men worse than women.
Now, it's entirely possible that as the lockdown wears on, and when the number of new cases begins to fall consistently, public opinion will change. But for now, it seems that even when the government decides that we ought to return to life outside, shops, cafes and restaurants may still be deserted.