English attitudes to Covid-19 restrictions largely unchanged by Omicron variant

Isabelle KirkData Journalist
December 02, 2021, 3:24 PM GMT+0

Most English adults are opposed to a return to strict lockdown rules

The reintroduction of tougher Covid-19 restrictions is mostly unpopular among the English public, although support has been increasing slightly since July, according to latest YouGov data.

Since Tuesday, England has been placed under tighter restrictions in an attempt to control the spread of the highly infectious new Omicron variant of the virus.

For now, however, England is unwilling to return to full lockdown rules. The most unpopular restrictions to reintroduce would be closing pubs and restaurants, with two-thirds (68%) of the English public opposed, and only allowing people to leave their homes for essential shopping, exercise and work (64% opposed). A further 61% oppose not allowing people to have any visitors indoors who they don’t live with.

The majority of English people (56%) are also opposed to only allowing groups of up to six people to meet outdoors, but opinions are more split about the ‘rule of six’ applying indoors (49% support and 41% oppose).

Around the same proportion support preventing large sports and entertainment events (46%) as oppose (45%), and the majority of English people (55%) support closing nightclubs to curb the spread of the virus, with a third (34%) opposed.

The restrictions English people would be most likely to support reintroducing include social distancing, or people having to keep 2m apart from people they don’t live with, with 60% in favour of reintroducing the rule. More than two-thirds of English adults (69%) support social distancing in pubs and restaurants.

Compared to previous times we asked the English public about their view on reintroducing Covid-19 restrictions, in October and July, support for tougher rules has only increased slightly all round.

Face coverings are now compulsory on public transport and in shops, a measure which was supported by the majority of the wider British public. At the end of November, 83% of the British public said they would support mandatory mask wearing in shops and on public transport.

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