Where are people comfortable visiting as the English lockdown eases?

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
April 11, 2021, 5:13 PM UTC

People in England remain most comfortable with visiting outdoor spaces, but feel more comfortable returning to public places than they did in November

With the next relaxation of lockdown rules in England set to take place on 12 April, publicans, barbers and many other shopkeepers will be looking forward to welcoming customers back. But with the pandemic still ongoing, how many people feel comfortable making a return to such venues?

Fortunately for the retail sector, English people tend to people comfortable visiting all 14 places we ask about.

In welcome news to publicans, pub gardens are close to the top of the list. Some 81% of regular pub-goers are comfortable visiting a pub garden, and neither the old nor old are put off – 84% of 18-24 year olds and 79% of those aged 65 and over comfortable having a drink in the sunshine.

While indoor seating remains off limits for the time being, 58% would be comfortable visiting a pub or bar indoors, but the prospect of drinking inside does deter some of the older generation, with those aged 65 and over split 48% to 48% on whether they could be comfortable inside their local.

When it comes to eating out, some 68% of potential diners are comfortable visiting restaurants again. A similar proportion (69%) would feel comfortable visiting a coffee shop again.

High street retailers are also set to reopen their doors to the public next week, and 72% of shoppers say they would be comfortable shopping in person again., However, a quarter (25%) would still feel uncomfortable doing so. People are less comfortable with larger indoor shopping centres (60%) compared to the open-air high street.

Some three quarters of people in England (75%) would also feel comfortable getting a haircut. Women (79%) are slightly more comfortable with visiting hairdressers and barbers than men (71%).

People are less comfortable about other indoor areas such as care homes (53%) and gyms (53%). Movie lovers remain among the most cautious, being split 49% to 46% on how comfortable they are returning to cinemas.

People are feeling more comfortable returning to public spaces this time around than any of the previous times the rules have changed Following previous editions of this survey in November, June, and April last year, this latest round of results show that people in England are feeling much more comfortable returning to public spaces than ever before.

While changes have not been as dramatic this time, the proportion of people feeling comfortable visiting all areas YouGov asked about previously has increased. The biggest change versus November comes for pubs/bars and gyms, both rising nine points to 58% and 53% respectively.

Elsewhere, an additional 8% of English people now feel comfortable visiting hairdressers and barbers, as well as nail salons, compared to November. A further 7% now also feel comfortable about visiting pub gardens versus late last year.

See full results for March 2021 here

See full results for November 2020 here

See full results for June 2020 here

See full results for April 2020 here