Majority of Irish people believe indoor social activities won’t be possible until at least September 2 weeks ago

Majority of Irish people believe indoor social activities won’t be possible until at least September

Most of us aren’t expecting a return to “normality” until at least 2021.

The majority of Irish people don’t expect that it will be possible to resume indoor social activities until at least September, according to a new study by the ESRI.

Restrictions imposed in an effort to combat the spread of Covid-19 are expected to begin to ease next week in line with the government roadmap. Cabinet is expected to approve a go-ahead on Friday for Phase 1 to begin from Monday (18 May).

Restrictions on social and economic activities will be gradually lifted at three-week intervals until Phase 5 on 10 August, all of which will be subject to review and possible amendments based on public health data.

Prior to the announcement of the government roadmap on 1 May, the ESRI polled a representative sample of adults in Ireland, with the results suggesting that most Irish people believe that the lifting of social distancing restrictions will be slow and gradual in the coming months.

The majority of respondents said they thought indoor social activities, such as the reopening of schools, pubs, nightclubs, gyms and cultural centres, would not be possible until “at least September”.

Most people were comfortable with that prospect, believing that the lifting of restrictions should prioritise necessities ahead of leisure activities.

Asked to rank the order in which restrictions should be lifted with regard to the positive impact it would have on individual respondents meanwhile, interaction beyond the household came out on top.

Image via ESRI

While people want to see the restriction on social contact beyond the household lifted first, they also think that necessities like workplaces, services and transport should take priority over leisure activities.

The clearest example relates to pubs and restaurants, which rank high for personal benefit in the study, but low for when people think the restriction should be lifted.

In any event, the majority view was that a return to "normality" would not occur until at least 2021.

“This study reveals further evidence of Ireland’s ability to pull together at a time of crisis,” said Dr Cameron Belton of the ESRI’s Behavioural Research Unit.

“In the face of this disease, the large majority of people have absorbed the need to proceed slowly and carefully. They are willing to make sacrifices now for a better outcome in the long-run.”

You can see the ESRI study in full here.