Four in five Britons against easing lockdown restrictions

3 May 2020, 11:50

Four in five people are against lockdown being eased this week
Four in five people are against lockdown being eased this week. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

More than four in five Britons are against lockdown restrictions being eased for schools, pubs and restaurants this week, a poll suggests.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the country had passed the peak of Covid-19 infections and he would be setting out a "road map" for easing measures in the near future.

But only 17% of those polled thought the time was right to consider re-opening schools, with smaller proportions of people thinking conditions had been met to allow cinemas, sporting stadia and nightclubs to open their doors.

Currently the UK rules state that people should not meet up with anyone they do not live with, and people are still being told they must stay inside and only go out for essentials such as food shopping or daily exercise.

The Opinium poll for the Observer questioned 2,000 adults between Wednesday and Friday and showed 79% of people were continuing to follow lockdown restrictions into their sixth week.

The UK death toll has edged closer to that of Italy, which now stands at 28,710 and is the highest in Europe, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Restrictions are still in place across the UK
Restrictions are still in place across the UK. Picture: PA

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Mr Johnson last week said he would not want to risk a second peak in the disease by relaxing restrictions too quickly, with the Government saying five tests would have to be met.

These include a falling death rate, a lower rate of infection, and satisfaction that supplies of testing and personal protective equipment are able to meet future demand.

The poll shows 14% of people are "starting to be more relaxed" about bending lockdown rules, with 3% saying they never followed them strictly.

Other findings suggest a quarter of people have left their home for exercise for more than an hour, 15% used the premise of shopping for essentials as a reason for being outside and 13% met up with friends and family for a walk.

One in 12 people (8%) said they had sat at a beer garden despite pubs being closed, and 9% said they had used the so-called NHS Shopping Hour despite not working in the health service.

Boris Johnson is expected to set out the second phase of lockdown at some point next week, which could include letting family and friends meet in limited "bubbles".

People could be allowed to meet in these "bubbles" of maximum ten people, according to reports.

The new coronavirus guidelines for socialising could allow close family members to meet for meals.

It also means that couples who do not live together may be able to see each other again.

A potential system could be that people would nominate a list of people they wish to see, drawn from no more than one or two households.