A new poll shows people in most provinces taking steps to reopen were between 60 and 70 per cent supportive of those moves, in a May 5, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Most Canadians comfortable with pace of easing restrictions: poll

Albertans less comfortable with reopenings

OTTAWA — As provinces start to tiptoe toward normalcy by gently lifting restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, a new poll suggests Canadians are largely happy with the pace.

People in most provinces taking steps to reopen were between 60 and 70 per cent supportive of those moves, while 16 to 30 per cent would like to see their government slow down a little.

Some provinces have already begun loosening physical distancing measures put in place as the growth in the number of COVID-19 cases started picking up steam in March.

In Quebec, which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Canada, the province is allowing some retail stores to reopen outside of Montreal with an eye to reopen the manufacturing and construction sectors next week. On Monday it pushed back the reopening of non-essential stores in the Montreal area at least another week.

Ontario, with the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the country, is allowing the partial reopening of some seasonal businesses. Manitoba has gone even further, allowing slightly restricted access to libraries, museums, and restaurant patios.

But in Alberta, which plans to allow certain retail stores, restaurants and daycare centres to reopen as early as May 14, people seem less comfortable with how quickly things are moving.

There, 50 per cent of respondents would like the province to slow down.

The poll, conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies between May 1 and 3, surveyed 1,526 adult Canadians and 1,002 adult Americans randomly recruited from its online panel. The internet-based survey cannot be assigned a margin of error because online polls are not considered random samples.

“Alberta is a bit different,” said Christian Bourque, vice-president of Leger.

“Everywhere else people seem to be in tune with what their governments have announced.”

Bourque was surprised by the latest results, considering similar polls in the last weeks indicated Canadians wanted to see major milestones hit before physical distancing measures were lifted, such as the development of a vaccine or a two-week period without new cases.

“I expected people to be even more cautious than they are,” he said.

In the latest poll, 28 per cent said they would be comfortable lifting restrictions if there are only sporadic cases and no pressure on the health-care system.

One reason for the acceptance of provincial plans to gradually reopen may be the steady support and trust respondents have expressed in their governments, which have remained high throughout the Canadian epidemic, Bourque said.

That’s in stark contrast to the United States, where 43 per cent of respondents expressed satisfaction with measures put in place by President Donald Trump to fight COVID-19. In Canada, 77 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with what Ottawa is doing.

The other reason may be that people are starting to slip when it comes to following the rules.

In general, the poll suggests Canadians’ fear of themselves or a loved one contracting the virus is lower than it was at the end of March. And while 27 per cent of Canadians said they did not comply with at least one of the public health measures two weeks ago, that number grew to 35 per cent in the latest poll.

That’s mainly because people are a little more likely to visit friends and family now, Bourque said. Last week only 16 per cent reported doing that and this week it was 18 per cent.

“More people now find it harder to do everything governments are asking them to do,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2020.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Front-line hospital workers have walked off the job at the Rimbey Hospital, and across the province. Photo Submitted
Front-line health care workers on strike across the province, including Rimbey Hospital

The strike is due to cut of 11,000 health care jobs in the province, according to AUPE

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed more than 1,000 cases over the weekend Monday afternoon. File photo
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up Monday

‘We’ve now crossed the tipping point,’ says Hinshaw

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

Ma & Paws Pet Supplies. Facebook/ Ma & Paws Pet Supplies.
Rimbey residents petition for dog park

Request for approval of dog park will be brought up at Tuesday Oct. 27 Town Council meeting.

Cases in Ponoka (East Ponoka County) as of Oct. 27. (alberta.ca)
Diagnosed cases of COVID-19 at three Ponoka businesses

Town ‘strongly encouraging’ residents to wear non-medical masks in public

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

Alberta’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Monday July 6, 2020. The Alberta government is hoping to get more Albertans employed by moving to limit the number and type of temporary foreign workers it allows into the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Alberta to limit temporary foreign worker program to save jobs for Albertans

Temporary foreign workers already in the province won’t be affected

(Emily Jaycox/Bashaw Star)
Wreath laying ceremony held in Manfred, Alta.

Ceremony marks 64th anniversary of Hungarian revolution, honours settlers

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta labour board orders health-care staff who walked off the job to go back to work

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release that he was pleased with the labour board’s decision

Wetaskiwin Hospital staff join AUPE walk outs across the province Monday Oct. 26, 2020. Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer.
City of Wetaskiwin health-care workers strike in protest of province-wide cuts

Wetaskiwin Hospital staff join other front line hospital workers across the province in walk-outs.

Most Read