A sales clerk keeps his distance from clients at a furniture store in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. on Monday, May 4, 2020. Retail stores outside the greater Montreal area have been allowed to reopen after weeks of forced closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Most Canadians comfortable with pace of easing restrictions: poll

People in most provinces taking steps to reopen were between 60 and 70 per cent supportive of those moves

As provinces start to tiptoe toward normalcy by gently lifting restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, a new poll suggests Canadians are largely happy with the pace.

People in most provinces taking steps to reopen were between 60 and 70 per cent supportive of those moves, while 16 to 30 per cent would like to see their government slow down a little.

Some provinces have already begun loosening physical distancing measures put in place as the growth in the number of COVID-19 cases started picking up steam in March.

In Quebec, which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Canada, the province is allowing some retail stores to reopen outside of Montreal with an eye to reopen the manufacturing and construction sectors next week. On Monday it pushed back the reopening of non-essential stores in the Montreal area at least another week.

Ontario, with the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the country, is allowing the partial reopening of some seasonal businesses. Manitoba has gone even further, allowing slightly restricted access to libraries, museums, and restaurant patios.

READ MORE: Officials say B.C. could eventually double interactions without causing new COVID-19 surge

But in Alberta, which plans to allow certain retail stores, restaurants and daycare centres to reopen as early as May 14, people seem less comfortable with how quickly things are moving.

There, 50 per cent of respondents would like the province to slow down.

The poll, conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies between May 1 and 3, surveyed 1,526 adult Canadians and 1,002 adult Americans randomly recruited from its online panel. The internet-based survey cannot be assigned a margin of error because online polls are not considered random samples.

“Alberta is a bit different,” said Christian Bourque, vice-president of Leger.

“Everywhere else people seem to be in tune with what their governments have announced.”

Bourque was surprised by the latest results, considering similar polls in the last weeks indicated Canadians wanted to see major milestones hit before physical distancing measures were lifted, such as the development of a vaccine or a two-week period without new cases.

“I expected people to be even more cautious than they are,” he said.

READ MORE: Companies beef up COVID-19 measures with masks and temperature checks

In the latest poll, 28 per cent said they would be comfortable lifting restrictions if there are only sporadic cases and no pressure on the health-care system.

One reason for the acceptance of provincial plans to gradually reopen may be the steady support and trust respondents have expressed in their governments, which have remained high throughout the Canadian epidemic, Bourque said.

That’s in stark contrast to the United States, where 43 per cent of respondents expressed satisfaction with measures put in place by President Donald Trump to fight COVID-19. In Canada, 77 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with what Ottawa is doing.

The other reason may be that people are starting to slip when it comes to following the rules.

In general, the poll suggests Canadians’ fear of themselves or a loved one contracting the virus is lower than it was at the end of March. And while 27 per cent of Canadians said they did not comply with at least one of the public health measures two weeks ago, that number grew to 35 per cent in the latest poll.

That’s mainly because people are a little more likely to visit friends and family now, Bourque said. Last week only 16 per cent reported doing that and this week it was 18 per cent.

“More people now find it harder to do everything governments are asking them to do,” he said.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusPoll

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC SPCA team helps discover new feline virus after outbreak at Quesnel shelter

Fechavirus is a kind of parvovirus, which makes cats and kittens very sick

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Commercial salmon fisheries delayed for Bella Coola area

DFO notice says Area C gill net fisheries in Area 8 have been delayed until June 15

Pacific Coastal won’t open until community is ready

The company has suspended operations until further notice

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Love flourishes at Peace Arch Park, but COVID-19 concerns loom

South Surrey park becomes only place for international couples to meet

Most Read