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

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

A mockup of the proposed public safety building on Third Avenue in Port Alberni. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni chooses location for new public safety building

Community policing programs will be run out of new office

Roxy Manson (far right) collects community sock donations from Walk the Coast. Manson collected more than 500 pairs of socks with her “Warm Socks to Warm Hearts” campaign. The socks will be distributed to community members who are living in the cold. (PHOTO COURTESY CAM MCARTHUR)
Alberni teen collects more than 500 pairs of socks for people in need

Warm Socks to Warm Hearts campaign ran throughout the month of November

The Alberni District Secondary School musical theatre class will be putting on a virtual performance of Shrek the Musical Jr. (PHOTO COURTESY TARYN POTTER)
ADSS musical theatre class puts a twist on fairy tales

Shrek the Musical Jr. will be a virtual performance due to COVID-19

Dave Heinrichs, general manager of Alberni District Co-op, and Paulette Schwartz, manager of the Liquor Depot. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Co-op buys Liquor Depot in Port Alberni

Co-op members in Port Alberni will soon be able to enjoy their benefits when purchasing liquor

An air ambulance leaves West Coast General Hospital for a trauma centre at 9:50 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12 after a Port Alberni youth was injured in an accident on the Somass River. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO
COVID-19 outbreak hits West Coast General Hospital

One unit closed; emergency department still open

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are inviting audiences into their home for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’. (Submitted)
Natalie MacMaster coming to you through Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Here’s your chance to enjoy the famed fiddler in an online show with her husband Donnell Leahy.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

Most Read