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87% support the ‘household plus safe six’ plan, and 85% are in favour of making mask-wearing indoors mandatory throughout the province. Fewer (61%) support a return to Phase 1-style lockdown if things get worse. Small retailers should be at the top of the list for further financial support from our provincial government (53% believe more support is needed).

Vancouver, BC —More than eight months into the pandemic and with the emergence of a second wave of the virus, British Columbians are only a little less worried about COVID-19 than they were back in March. Most are in favour of even stricter restrictions and lockdowns if things continue to get worse in our province but are not necessarily in favour of more government support for different industries that are suffering.

BC residents are following news of the second wave with great interest, as nearly every adult in the province is aware of the event and a large majority (87%) are following it closely in the news, including 44% who say they are following it ‘very closely’. And like many government programs and initiatives that have been implemented, there is strong support for additional measures that have been announced by Dr. Bonnie Henry in combatting the spread of COVID-19 during this second wave. There is overwhelming support for keeping social gatherings limited to households plus their “safe six” in this current wave, as 87% of residents support this initiative, including 66% who ‘strongly support’ it. However, there is a strong belief that mask-wearing should be mandatory rather than suggested, as 85% of British Columbians think it should be mandatory in all indoor spaces within the province, including 68% who would ‘strongly support’ this initiative. Similarly, high levels of support exist for mandatory mask wearing in elementary/middle schools (83% support, including 62% ‘strongly support’), and in high schools (84% support, including 67% ‘strongly support’).

Despite cases of COVID-19 in the second wave being higher than in the early months of the pandemic, the level of worry this time around is slightly lower. A total of 84% are worried about COVID-19, including 28% who are ‘very worried’, and 56% who are ‘somewhat worried’, and back in late March we saw slightly higher numbers (91% worried including 45% who were ‘very worried’). That level of worry translates into similar numbers when we asked about the level of worry about catching COVID-19 personally, with 83% worried, including 31% who are ‘very worried’. Levels of concern on this front have dropped substantially since late March, when 90% were worried, including the 48% who said they were ‘very worried’ back then. Levels of worry are equally high across gender and age categories but heightened in Metro Vancouver compared to other parts of the province (14-16 percentage points higher).

BC residents are torn on whether enough financial aid has been provided by the provincial government to certain industries that have arguably slipped through the cracks relative to other industries that have benefited from more federal and provincial support. At the top of the list for needing additional support is small retail operators in BC, where 53% of British Columbia residents think that more should be done versus 28% who feel enough has been done. There is also a higher level of empathy for restaurants and bars, as 43% think more should be done (38% believe enough has been done) as well as travel/tourism operators (43% more, 30% enough). There are several other industries where the percentage who think more should be done is very close to the number who think enough has been done, including live show venues (35% more; 29% enough) banquet halls (31% more; 33% enough), and outdoor holiday venues (32% more; 34% enough). There are also a few industries where there is less support for doing more, including gyms and fitness centres (29% more, 40% enough), landlords in BC (31% more; 39% enough), salons and spas (28% more; 42% enough) paramedical/dental offices (36% more, 44% enough), and lastly the taxi/ride-hailing industry (23% more; 42% enough).

When asked to consider a wide list of further restrictions based on scenario where there is a significant increase in infections, hospitalizations and death rates, it is clear that BC residents give the government of BC a clear, strongly supported mandate to increase restrictions – even if it means potentially re-introducing a full-scale lockdown. There is widespread support for future initiatives such as a province-wide temporary closing of gyms and public recreation facilities (79% including 52% ‘strongly support’) or geographic area-specific lockdowns (80% including 51% ‘strongly support’). Nearly two thirds support closing of public schools (66% including 39% ‘strongly support’) and just over 6 in 10 support going back to a phase 1-style full-scale lockdown that we had back in March through May (61%, including 34% ‘strongly support’). Support is weaker, but still a majority of residents would support temporarily closing restaurants and pubs 65% including 33% ‘strongly support’, or imposing curfews (54%, including 27% ‘strongly support’).

“The emergence of the predicted phase 2 of the pandemic has everyone on edge and concerned in British Columbia” says Steve Mossop, president of Insights West. “This high level of concern has once again translated into high levels of support for existing and possibly new government measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 in our province, including some draconian measures that would once again threaten the economic recovery in B.C. This widespread support shows a province united in its believe that we must do whatever is necessary to slow the spread of the virus.”
About Insights West:

Insights West is a full-service marketing research firm based in Western Canada. Since 2012, the company has conducted over one million surveys, executed 2,000 studies, and issued over 350 press releases on a variety of topics, correctly predicting the outcomes of 24 out of 25 elections and plebiscites. Insights West is a team of passionate, truth-seeking researchers who question everything to uncover the truth and what is emerging for a diverse set of clients. With an understanding of shifting markets, consumer and societal trends, and commitment to uncovering truths through a proprietary toolkit and innovative research approaches, Insights West helps organizations make better decisions.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from October 28-November 1, 2020 among a sample of 802 BC residents. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies between totals are due to rounding. Click HERE to view the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Mossop
Insights West