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NISRA publish results of NI COVID-19 Public Opinion Survey


The fifth set of results from the NISRA Coronavirus (COVID-19) survey were published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency.


The results presented in this release relate to data from Phases 1 to 8 of the survey and are based on interviews carried out with members of the public in the period 21 April 2020 to 21 January 2021.


Compliance of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines and Regulations


  • Six in ten people (60%) agreed that they felt they had enough information about government plans to manage the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

  • Just over half of people (54%) said that they were completely following the Northern Ireland Executive’s regulations and guidelines on how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Stricter adherence to the regulations and guidelines was associated with increasing age. Seven in ten people aged 65 and over (71%) reported that they were completely following the regulations and guidelines. This was significantly higher than for those aged 45-64 years (59%) and those aged 16-44 years (41%).

  • Of those people who had not completely followed the regulations and guidelines, more than half (54%) said that they had not always abided by social distancing rules, keeping 1-2 metres apart from other people. Some 34% of people reported that they had visited family or friends when they were not allowed to do so. Approximately, one in ten people stated that they had not worn a face covering in shops (12%), travelled further than necessary or restrictions allowed (11%), not followed restrictions to stay at home during a Lockdown (11%) or socialised in larger groups than those allowed by the NI Executive (9%).


Enforcement of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Regulations


  • People interviewed in the period September 2020 - January 2021 were asked about the enforcement of rules to help slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • One in five people (20%) thought that police were strict in enforcing rules to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) but just under half of people (48%) felt they were lenient.


Concerns about Coronavirus (COVID-19)


  • Almost three quarters of people (73%) interviewed in the period October to December said that they were worried about the effect the Coronavirus (COVID-19) was having on their lives. This was an increase on the level of worry (69%) reported by people in the period July-September and a return to the levels of worry reported in the months of April to June (72%).

  • There appears to be growing optimism that life might return to normal in the next twelve months or so. The proportion of people who said it would be more than a year before their life returned to normal has halved from a peak of 57% in September 2020 to 29% in December 2020.


Alcohol Consumption


  • People interviewed in the period November 2020 – January 2021 were asked about their alcohol consumption since the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

  • Of those people who do drink alcohol, approximately one in five people (22%) said they were drinking more alcohol since the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Almost half of people (48%) were drinking about the same, whilst just over a quarter of people (26%) said they were drinking less. A small proportion (4%) said that they had not drank alcohol since March 2020.


Concerns about children or young people attending school


  • Just over half of people (53%) with school aged children in their household were concerned about the children or young people in their household being back in school, whilst just under two fifths (39%) were unconcerned.

  • Over three quarters (78%) of those who were concerned about the children or young people in their household being back in school said they were concerned about them catching the Coronavirus (COVID-19) at school, whilst just over half (52%) were concerned about them spreading the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • Of those people, who said that there had been a Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the first term in the school their eldest child attended, the vast majority (90%) agreed that the school had done a good job in the handling of their Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.


Financial Concerns


  • Overall, just over one quarter of people (26%) expected the financial position of their household to get worse in the next 12 months.

  • The proportion of people, who expected the financial position of their household to get worse, was highest in the month of May 2020 (35%) but decreased to 23% in December 2020.


Personal Wellbeing


  • The average (mean) wellbeing rating of people interviewed in the period April 2020 – January 2021 for ‘life satisfaction’ (7.47) and feelings that things done in life are ‘worthwhile’ (7.90) were significantly lower (in a statistical sense) than those reported by NISRA for the 2019/20 year (7.86 and 8.05) respectively.

  • The average (mean) wellbeing rating of people interviewed in the same period for ‘anxiety’ (3.31) was significantly higher (in a statistical sense) than that reported by NISRA for 2019/20 (3.00).

  • There was no significant difference observed in the wellbeing rating for ‘happiness’ when compared with that reported by NISRA for the 2019/20 year.


Face Coverings


  • The use of face coverings outside the home has increased significantly from 28% in June 2020 to 95% in December 2020.

  • Overall, 91% of people support the mandatory use of face coverings in shops and supermarkets.


The surveys full findings with accompanying charts can be viewed at:


https://www.nisra.gov.uk/publications/nisra-coronavirus-covid-19-opinion-survey






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