Being in public is stressful during a pandemic, says new poll

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OTTAWA – As restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 persist, new poll suggests more than half of Canadians find it stressful to venture out in public.

In a web survey conducted by the Leger polling firm and the Canadian Studies Association, 57% of respondents said that leaving their home for public space caused anxiety.

Although the numbers are relatively consistent across the country, they peaked at 64% in Ontario and a minimum of 48% in Alberta.

In comparison, 64% of American respondents said they found it somewhat or very stressful to go out in public during the pandemic.

The survey was conducted from May 8 to 11 among 1,526 Canadians and 1,004 Americans, 18 years of age or older, who were randomly recruited from an online panel.

However, since the surveys created from Internet panels are not random samples, the survey cannot be attributed a margin of error.

The survey firm indicates that using the 2016 census data, the results were weighted by age, sex, mother tongue, region, education level and presence of children in the household. in order to guarantee a representative sample of the population.

Forty-three percent of Canadians who participated found going out in public to be somewhat stressful, while 13% found it to be very stressful. The figures do not correspond to the sum of 57% due to the rounding.

Ten percent of the men who responded found the outings very stressful, compared to 17 percent of the women.

The vast majority of Canadians who participated reported following the advice to help contain the spread of the new coronavirus by standing two meters away from others, washing their hands more often, coughing or sneezing in their elbow and out only for necessities.

In addition, 42% of Canadians polled said they wore protective masks when visiting public places last week.

Fifty-one percent said people outside their families had been closer than two meters in the past seven days.

The vigilance necessary to maintain personal space in public is probably a stressor that people feel, said Léger’s executive vice-president, Christian Bourque.

“Whenever I go to the grocery store, what I do because it’s a necessity, someone wants to choose the same lawyers I look at,” he said. “There is always someone in your bubble at some point, even if we try to do our best. “

When asked how long it would take their provincial economy to return to normal, with business activity and jobs created below the pandemic level, 14% responded in about six to eight months, about 24%. one year and 30 percent one to two years.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 12, 2020.

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