Vast majority of people want strict lockdown measures to continue, poll finds

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

Sunday, 3rd May 2020, 8:41 am
Updated Sunday, 3rd May 2020, 8:42 am

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 per cent 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.

The Opinium poll for the Observer questioned 2,000 adults between Wednesday (April 29) and Friday (May 1) and showed 79 per cent of people were continuing to follow lockdown restrictions into their sixth week.

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Empty Sheffield City centre, weeks into the lockdown.

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.

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 per cent of people are "starting to be more relaxed" about bending lockdown rules, with 3 per cent 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 per cent used the premise of shopping for essentials as a reason for being outside and 13 per cent met up with friends and family for a walk.

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

In Sheffield, police have been acting on new powers to force businesses ignoring lockdown restrictions to close.