Freedom Day comes and goes, but Brits feel no closer to normality

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
August 03, 2021, 9:04 AM GMT+0

Just one in six feel like their lives have returned to how they were before the pandemic

On 19 July, dubbed ‘Freedom Day’ by many, all social distancing restrictions came to an end in England. While the government was doubtless hoping that the end of requirements like having to wear face masks in shops and stand 2m apart would mentally transport people back to happier times, new YouGov polling shows this has not been the case.

When, in early June, we first asked Britons whether they felt like their lives felt like they had returned to how they were before the coronavirus crisis, just 16% told us this was the case. This number has not risen above this point in our surveys since.

In fact, the lowest figure we saw was 10% on 20 July – the day after Freedom Day, itself down 4pts on the prior survey conducted four days earlier.

That number now stands at 16% once again, as of our most recent survey on 28-29 July. Currently three quarters of Britons (77%) say it does not feel like their lives have returned to normal.

There is little difference between social and voting groups on this view.

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