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From travel to eating out: The social impacts of coronavirus on Britain

Suban Abdulla
·3-min read
One in five of those surveyed by the ONS have cancelled their overseas travel plans due to the risk of 14 day quarantine.
One in five of those surveyed by the ONS have cancelled their overseas travel plans in the face of quarantine measures. Photo: Getty

Almost two-thirds (62%) of holidaymakers said that they would be unlikely to travel overseas if they had to quarantine for 14 days on their return, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

According to the ONS’s Opinions and Lifestyle survey, one in 10 said they were still likely or very likely to travel, knowing they would have to quarantine.

A fifth (20%) of British adults cancelled foreign travel plans in light of the 14 day quarantine measures, while 14% reported they would holiday in the UK instead this year.

READ MORE: UK airports braced for travel chaos after France quarantine ruling

With the UK officially declared in recession earlier this week, the imminent end to the furlough scheme and fears of a second wave, respondents were asked about the future of the UK and the biggest issues facing the country.

One in five (20%) have cancelled their travel plans due to the possibility of 14 days quarantine. Photo: ONS
One in five (20%) have cancelled their travel plans due to the possibility of 14 days quarantine. Photo: ONS

Of those surveyed, eight in 10 (81%) said the economy was one the most important issue facing the UK — 75% answered the coronavirus pandemic — while 68% said employment.

When asked to identify the single most important issue facing Great Britain, 37% answered the coronavirus pandemic, whereas 23% said the UK economy.

After the government successfully launched the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, one four in 10 (40%) adults felt “comfortable” or “very comfortable” eating indoors at a restaurant or pub.

One in four Brits (40%) also said that the coronavirus pandemic affected their wellbeing — of those 18% reported that they feared losing their jobs — up from 14% the previous week — while 11% worried about returning to work.

Meanwhile more than 73% (seven in 10) expressed that they met up with other people to socialise, while half of those surveyed reported that they had a visit from family or friends.

Adults feel more comfortable visiting an indoor restaurant.
Adults felt more comfortable visiting an indoor restaurant between 5 and 9 August. Photo: ONS

Almost half (47%) of those who socialised with others, said that they adhered to social distancing measures — whereas 8% said they didn’t maintain social distancing or not “very often.”

Those aged 70 years or over were most likely to practice social distancing when meeting others, with seven in 10 reporting they had.

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When it comes to work over three quarters, or 78%, mentioned they had either worked from home or travelled to work, of those 55% said they travelled to work while 23% worked exclusively from home.

Of those surveyed, a whopping 96% wear a face covering at least once a week when going outside to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The data was published hours after the government told Brits holidaying in France that from 4am on Saturday (15 August) they would be required to quarantine due to rising numbers of coronavirus cases in the country.

The same restrictions will also apply to travellers returning from the Netherlands, Malta, Monaco and Turks & Caicos and Aruba.

There were 1,424 adult respondents for the ONS’s Opinions and Lifestyle survey between 5 and 9 August.