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New Poll Finds That Over Half of Britons Are Uncomfortable Returning to Restaurants

Ipsos Mori research learns that 61 percent of would feel uncomfortable going to restaurants and pubs

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A new poll by the research group Ipsos Mori has learned that the majority of people in the U.K. would feel uncomfortable visiting restaurants or bars after lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Data was taken from representative sample of 1,066 British adults aged 18-75 online between April 24 and 27 2020. It found that three in five (61 percent) Britons would a feel uncomfortable going to bars and restaurants. While 3 in 10 (29 percent) feel comfortable going out to eat and drink, only 21 percent would be comfortable using public transport to get there.

The data points to varying attitudes among different age groups: Young people — those aged between 18 and 34 — would be willing to visit bars and restaurants, with the research finding that 36 percent feel comfortable doing so, compared to only 22 percent in the 55 to 75 age category. Similarly, young people are most willing to attend large public gatherings, such as festivals.

This latest research tallies with findings from a YouGov poll published last week, which identified 57 percent of people as “uncomfortable” entering restaurants, rising slightly to 58 percent for coffee shops and 63 percent for pubs. With restaurants and pubs already aware that they are likely to be the last to “exit” lockdown measures, the industry remains focused on trying to secure extra government support long-term; right now, there is no perceptible return to ‘normal.’ Pressure groups and lobbies are requesting that the government prioritises a further extension to the furlough scheme for its workers, suspends rent payments on properties until the new year, and offers a comprehensive plan for phased reopening to avoid the yo-yo effect of opening-and-closing through the periodic application of social distancing measures.

The government is expected to lay out its strategy for reopening the economy early next week, in advance of the date set for full lockdown to end on 7 May. The restaurant and wider hospitality industry is anxiously awaiting what steps the government will take to safeguard their particular disadvantage. That the majority of potential customers are indicating an unwillingness to visit restaurants even when they reopen only confirms that far-reaching support long-term will be needed to avoid mass closures and millions of job losses.