Half of Brits thought life would be 'back to normal' after six months of lockdown

23 September 2020, 11:32 | Updated: 23 September 2020, 14:36

File photo: Commuters at Waterloo station in London
File photo: Commuters at Waterloo station in London. Picture: PA

By Megan White

More than 50 per cent of people thought life would be back to normal within six months when the UK first went into lockdown, a new report has found.

But the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that by late August more than a third of those surveyed said the pandemic would last more than a year.

On April 1, 52 per cent of people said they thought life would be back to normal in less than six months compared to nearly 11 per cent who said it would be more than a year.

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But by August 28 the proportion who felt it would be less than six months had fallen to 14 per cent, while 37 per cent said it would be more than 12 months.

The data, published on Wednesday - six months since lockdown began - comes from the weekly Opinions and Lifestyle Survey.

It also found the proportion of people who said they’d worn face coverings in public increased from 43 per cent at the end of June to 96 per cent at the end of August as they became mandatory in different areas.

As the UK entered a recession in August, a quarter of adults said they expected household finances to get worse over the next year.

The figures came after Boris Johnson announced a raft of measures that he said will need to stay in force for “perhaps six months” if needed.

On Tuesday, he outlined the new restrictions in the Commons, which include asking people to work from home and giving pubs and restaurants a 10pm curfew.

The Prime Minister told MPs: "First, we are once again asking office workers who can work from home to do so. In key public services and in all professions where home working is not possible, such as construction or retail, people should continue to attend their workplaces."

He added: "Second, from Thursday, all pubs, bars and restaurants must operate a table service only, except for takeaways. Together with all hospitality venues, they must close at 10pm.

"And to help the police enforce this rule that means, alas, closing not just calling for last orders, because simplicity is paramount."

"Third, we will extend the requirement to wear face coverings to include staff in retail, all users of taxis and private hire vehicles and staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat or drink.

"Fourth, in retail, leisure and tourism and other sectors, our Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations."

He added: "Fifth, now is the time to tighten up the rule of six. I'm afraid that from Monday a maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, though up to 30 can still attend a funeral as now.

"We will also have to extend the rule of six to all adult indoor team sports."