Ahead of 19 July, how comfortable do English people feel about returning to shops and venues?

Eir NolsoeData Journalist
July 18, 2021, 11:00 AM UTC

Seven in ten English people who used to go to nightclubs in pre-pandemic times say they would not feel comfortable visiting one when restrictions lift

The last coronavirus restrictions are set to end in England on 19 July, dubbed ‘Freedom Day’, despite cases rising rapidly. But many English people don’t feel comfortable with their soon found freedoms.

Among those who would ordinarily go to nightclubs, half (51%) say they would feel very uncomfortable returning if all coronavirus restrictions end this summer, while another fifth (22%) would feel fairly uneasy.

Large indoor events such as concerts or performances are a tough sell too, with three in five of those who would normally go to such events saying they would either feel very (32%) or fairly (27%) uncomfortable attending one.

Boris Johnson has said that masks will no longer be legally required from 19 July, although Sadiq Khan has since said they will remain cumpolsory on London transport. The guidance to work from home will likewise be scrapped. But three in five English people who use public transport say they would feel very (30%) or fairly (29%) uncomfortable using it immediately after all coronavirus restrictions end.

Coronavirus risks still make many vary of going to gyms, cinemas and carehomes

While venues such as gyms, hairdressers and cinemas have been open for at least around two months, the research shows that many people would still feel uneasy visiting them after further restrictions loosen on 19 July.

English people are torn on how they’d feel going to the gym from next week, with 47% saying they would feel uncomfortable, while 48% would feel at ease.

Cinemas are likewise considered high risk by many people, with two fifths (43%) saying they would not feel comfortable going to one. From next week they can return to full capacity and people will not be required to wear masks unless requested by the venue.

Restrictions on visitors to care homes will end on 19 July too. English people who would normally visit loved ones in care homes have mixed feelings about returning, with two in five (40%) saying they would feel uncomfortable doing so. Around half (53%) would feel safe to return.

Pub gardens and garden centres are among the places most people would comfortable visiting at respectively 82% and 86%.

These figures represent a reversal in terms of getting back to normal. For instance, while 48% of English gymgoers are now comfortable being in the gym, that figure was 56% in the May.

Likewise, the 55% of people who attend pubs and bars who are currently comfortable going to such establishments is down from two thirds (66%) previously.

See the full results here and here