As the country prepares for the second phase in the lifting of lockdown restrictions, 74% of people are optimistic that Ireland can overcome the COVID-19 outbreak – an increase from 61% in May and 67% in early March, according to the latest wave of research from Core.
As optimism increases, concern about COVID-19 has declined, notes the research. “As people have learnt new health behaviour to protect against COVID-19, those who are very or extremely concerned about COVID-19 is at an all-time low. The percent who are concerned has fallen from 75% of adults in March when the outbreak began, to 59% in May and most recently, just over half (51%) in June,” according to the research.
A long road ahead.
However, the research also points out that the public continue to understand that COVID-19 is will be with us for the long-term, with 70% believing it will last beyond September 2020, including 38% who believe it will be with us into 2021.
Hopeful caution remains.
With the second phase in the restrictions set to be lifted next Monday, the top five emotions people are feeling are hope, caution, anxiety, acceptance andoptimism, according to Core.
The research also highlights that local shops and businesses maintain the highest level of public approval – with 86% of people saying they have handled the situation well.
Significantly, approval of how other citizens are handling the situation (public solidarity) has increased from 64% in May to 76% in June. While half the population say they have met up with a small group outside during Phase 1, only 34% would be confident to host people in their home over the next three weeks, the research notes.
With retail outlets currently under the spotlight when it comes to re-opening, the research shows that 29% of adults have visited a DIY store since their re-opening, compared to 36% who said in May they would be confident to do so. Similarly, 26% have visited a garden centre, compared to 39% who said they would be confident.
As some retail reopening move forward to phase 2 next Monday, the public remains cautious about returning with one in four (25%) people are confident returning to clothes shop. This confidence level will increase to 64% of the public by mid-July.
“Throughout this crisis, the public behaviour has been extremely pragmatic and hopeful. We remain sensitive to those impacted by COVID-19, but optimistic as a country, that we have achieved a lot. This has resulted in a strong social cohesion with 3 in 4 of us believing we are all doing a good job. While many are pushing for a faster reopening, the Irish public are more cautious. 1 in 4 would be confident to return to a clothing shop next week. This will be beneficial to allow workers return, businesses to understand how to manage traffic and systems, and give customers an opportunity to understand how the shopping experience will be different. Communicating the new experience and managing expectations will be key,” says Finian Murphy, marketing director of Core.