01 December 2020
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (1st December 2020) published some of the results of the fourth round of the Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey. The topics covered in this publication include worries survey respondents have in relation to celebrating Christmas this year, expectations around international travel, opinions related to restrictions that should apply to persons travelling to Ireland and expected change in Christmas expenditure compared to last year.
Commenting on the results, Statistician, Lianora Bermingham said: ‘The findings of the survey serve to highlight the impact that COVID-19 is having on society.
Survey respondents were asked about expectations and opinions related to international travel. More than one in two (53.9%) expect to take their next international flight sometime before the end of 2021, more than one in three (36.0%) expect that their next flight will be ‘sometime in 2022’ and 6.8% expect that it will be in ‘2023 or later’.
Expectations around the next flight differed depending on whether the respondent has a family member living abroad. More than six in ten (63.0%) with an immediate family member living abroad expect to take their next international flight before the end of 2021, compared with more than four in ten (43.5%) that do not have an immediate family member living abroad. More than six in ten (62.4%) men expect to take their next flight before the end of 2021, compared with less than half (45.1%) women.
When it comes to restrictions that should apply to persons entering the country, more than one in two (53.7%) respondents believe that persons travelling to Ireland from RED regions, (under the EU traffic light approach ) should ‘not be allowed enter the country’.
With effect from midnight 29 November 2020, passengers arriving from RED regions can have their restriction on movement lifted, if a COVID-19 test five days following arrival is negative. One in six (17.4%) agree with this approach. A similar percentage (17.8%) believe that passengers from RED regions should ‘restrict movements for 14 days’.
In line with EU recommendation, there are no entry restrictions on passengers travelling from GREEN regions. Just under 11% of respondents agree with this approach, a similar percentage (10.3%) believe that passengers from GREEN regions should ‘not be allowed enter the country’. Almost eight in ten (78.9%) believe that passengers from GREEN regions should be subject to some restrictions (e.g. a pre or post arrival negative COVID-19 test or movement restriction on arrival).’ See Chapter Travel
Expectations Around Christmas
In relation to expenditure on Christmas this year, almost nine in ten (88.6%) respondents either reported that they expect to spend ‘less than last year’ (46.2%) or the ‘same as last year’ (42.4%). Less than one in ten (9.4%) expect to spend ‘more than last year’.
Just under 12% of respondents are worried about being unable to afford Christmas presents. Respondents living in rented accommodation are more likely to be worried about the 'inability to afford Christmas presents' (23.0%) compared with respondents living in owner-occupied dwellings (8.4%).
This fourth round of the Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey was carried out between Thursday 12 November and Wednesday 18 November, before the Government announced that the country will move from Level 5 to Level 3 ‘with modifications’ restrictions.
When asked about their likelihood of complying with potential restrictions that would prevent them from seeing family and friends during Christmas, almost three in five (57.5%) respondents reported they were ‘Likely’ or ‘Very likely’ to comply fully. Just over one in five (21.3%) said they were ‘Unsure’, while a similar proportion (21.1%) said they were ‘Very unlikely’ or ‘Unlikely’ to comply fully with potential restrictions.
Almost two in three (65.3%) men reported that they would be ‘Likely’ or ‘Very likely’ to comply compared to one in two (50.0%) women. Older respondents were more likely to indicate that they would comply with such restrictions with more than eight in ten (81.8%) aged 70 and over reporting they would be ‘Likely’ or ‘Very likely’ to comply compared to four in ten (41.9%) respondents aged 18 to 34.
Almost three in four (74.5%) were worried about ‘not being able to mix with other households or see friends or family over the Christmas period’ and more than half (54.2%) were worried about ‘being unable to plan ahead, not knowing what restrictions will be in place’ during the Christmas period.
In relation to other worries about Christmas, men were more likely to be worried about ‘pubs and restaurants being closed over Christmas’ (25.3% compared with 15.2% of women), whereas women were more likely to be worried about ‘not being able to mix with other households or see friends or family’ (79.4% compared with 69.4% of men). Women were also more worried about ‘household confinement over the Christmas period’ (45.2% compared with 38.6% of men).
Analysis by age shows that more than one in three (35.8%) respondents aged 70 and over and 31.6% aged 55 to 69 were worried about ‘churches, places of worship closed over the Christmas period’ compared to 14.2% of respondents aged 18 to 34. One in four (25.5%) of respondents aged 18 to 34 were worried about ‘pubs and restaurants being closed over Christmas’ compared with one in nine (11.0%) respondents aged 70 and over. Three in ten (31.1%) of younger respondents (aged 18 to 34) were worried about the ‘inability to access shops to buy Christmas presents’ compared with two in ten (19.8%) of older respondents (aged 70 and over). See Chapter Christmas
The Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey published today utilised an online electronic questionnaire to produce a final achieved sample size of 1,585 individuals. Due to public health guidelines regarding COVID-19, our interviewers no longer conduct CSO household surveys in the sampled households' own homes. Sample households now receive introductory letters by post asking them to ring the CSO to schedule an interview which is conducted over the phone. These surveys give us a picture of the economic and social situation of the citizens of Ireland, with a level of accuracy no one else can gain. If you are asked to take part in a CSO survey, please do so. It means that when CSO figures are quoted you know they’re accurate, Because you told us.
Further details on the methodology can be found in the Background Notes.
Lianora Bermingham (+353) 21 453 5665 or Gerry Reilly (087) 2505165 (+353) 21 453 5700
or email ICW@cso.ie
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