Over 25% of Brits want clubs to stay permanently closed

© Danny Seaton

New research conducted for The Economist suggests that some Brits are in favour of extended Covid-19 restrictions.

On 19 July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will lift most of the remaining lockdown measures in England. Dubbed ‘Freedom Day’, clubs and festivals are set to reopen, capacity limits will be lifted across the hospitality sector and masks will no longer be mandatory. However, over a quarter (26%) of Brits would support the permanent closure of nightclubs and casinos even after 19 July. A new poll conducted by Ipsos MORI for The Economist also suggests that 43% would keep them closed until Covid-19 is under control worldwide, while 46% would opt to keep them shut for a further month after 19 July.

Elsewhere, the research suggests that the majority of Brits would prefer for face coverings to stay compulsory in shops and on public transport for some time after 19 July. 70% would like to see this continue for a month after ‘Freedom Day’. 64% think it should remain in place until coronavirus is under control globally. Less than half of the sample (40%) would support the wearing of masks in shops and on public transport permanently. 41% of the research sample are opposed to this.

The majority of the sample (66%) were in support of social distancing measures remaining compulsory in theatres, pubs and sports grounds for a month following 19 July. 59% would be happy for these measures to continue until the pandemic is under control worldwide. Meanwhile, 19% would support a permanent curfew on leaving the house after 10pm “without good reason”, while 29% would be happy to see this stay in place for an additional month after 19 July.

According to Ipsos MORI, the poll was answered by a representative sample of 1,025 British adults aged 16-75, with interviews conducted online from 2-3 July 2021.

Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said: “Throughout most of the pandemic, we’ve seen support for many of the measures that the government has taken to control the virus – broadly speaking, many more people define themselves as supporters of the restrictions than opponents, and only a minority believe that the rules have been too strict.”

“This latest polling backs this up, with the public prepared to accept a number of restrictions such as mask-wearing and on foreign travel being in place in the short-term after the planned July 19th easing, and even if necessary until the coronavirus is under control worldwide (although support for the most extreme of the options – a curfew – is consistently much lower).”

“However, this isn’t a blank cheque –  support falls noticeably for restrictions being in place permanently,” he adds. “Interestingly, while COVID is still seen as a risk support for restrictions tends to be stronger among older age groups, but that age difference disappears when we ask about support for restrictions remaining in place permanently (and if anything, older groups actually become more opposed).

See the full Ipsos MORI research report here.