Lockdown survey: how the past 50 days have changed the UK

Tuesday, 12th May 2020, 2:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th May 2020, 2:59 pm

With 50 days gone by since the UK population was asked to remain indoors, we asked you about your lockdown experience - and how you'd like to see restrictions ease.

In total, more than 23,000 people nationwide took part in our survey, which asked questions about everything from how you've been entertaining yourself to your fears and concerns, and what you're most looking forward to after the lockdown has eased.

This is how lockdown has shaped our lives, habits and opinions over the past 50 days.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Most would like to come out of lockdown slowly

Around one fifth (20.8%) respondents said they think noticeable easing of restrictions will come in the first part of June, while 25.8% predict that this will happen in the second half of June, and 13.2% think this won't happen until after August.

A slow removal of restrictions would be the preferred path out of lockdown for 74.4% of respondents, a clear majority urging caution.

However, while most think noticeable easing will happen by June, the largest share of respondents - 39.4% - think it will take between 1-2 years for everyday life to return to some kind of normality. Just 8.4% expect this within 3-5 months.

TV, gardening and virtual socialising are the most popular pastimes

When it comes to having fun under lockdown, it may come as no surprise that the most popular form of entertainment has been watching TV and movies, with 64.4% of respondents saying that they've increased their watching time under lockdown.

However, other more proactive and social forms of entertainment have also gained popularity during this period.

Over half of respondents - 51.4% - said that they have increased the frequency of video chats and calls with friends, while just under half - 49.3% - have taken to gardening under lockdown.

Playing board games is proving one of the less popular activities, with just 15.8% of respondents saying they've done this more under lockdown.

People are more worried about others than themselves

The health and wellbeing of family and friends was the biggest concern among respondents, with 53.6% of those who took the survey saying they were worried about this.

This far outstripped the amount of respondents who said they were worried about their own health - with just 17.9% of people saying this was a concern.

The security of employment and the impact on children's education was only a worry for around 8 per cent of respondents respectively.

A majority have felt an impact on their mental health

More than one in ten respondents - 12.2% - said that their mental health had been "severely" affected by the lockdown period, while 41% of people said it had been "slightly" affected.

Only 22.3% said that their mental health had been unaffected.

Lockdown has improved more relationships than it has hampered, but most have remained the same

Around one in ten respondents said that lockdown has brought them "much closer" to their partners, and 12.1% said it had brought them "slightly closer".

Just 4.6% of respondents said lockdown had pulled them apart "slightly", and just 1.6% said it had pulled them away from their partner "a lot".

However, the majority of respondents -  43.1% - said that lockdown has not altered their relationship.

People are seeking news more often

28.4% of people reported reading, watching and listening to the news "much more" than prior to lockdown, and 29.6% reported accessing it "slightly" more.

National TV news was rated as the most trustworthy, with 27.9% of respondents saying they found it "very valuable" as a source of trustworthy news, while 45.1% rated it as "quite valuable".

Just behind national TV news was local newspapers, which 35.5% of respondents rated as "quite valuable". National newspapers were rated as "quite valuable" by 28.3% of respondents.

Interestingly, national newspapers and Twitter were both rated as "not at all valuable" by around the same percentage of respondents, 23%.

Eating out and holidays are the activities people look forward to - as well as a haircut

Going on holidays/trips was the most desired post-lockdown activity, with 65.3% of people saying this is what they're looking forward to.  A close runner-up was eating and drinking out, which 65.3% of people are looking forward to.

While going to the cinema, theatre or seeing live music was desired by 38.6% of respondents, this was outstripped by those looking forward to going to the hairdresser or barber - 53.7%.

44.3% of respondents said they are looking forward to going shopping once lockdown is lifted. The most popular stores among respondents were garden centres (with social distancing measures) which 44.8% are keen to visit, and DIY stores, which 35.4% want to visit.

39.9% of people said that supporting local businesses has become more important to them personally under lockdown.

Although people are looking forward to these activities, that doesn't mean they aren't concerned.

36.5% of respondents feel "very concerned" about returning to public places like shops and restaurants, while 41% feel "slightly concerned". Just 9.8% said they feel "not at all concerned" by the prospect.

Seeing family is the everyday activity people are looking forward to most

When asked what aspects of "everyday life" they were looking forward to most, a whopping 77.2% said "seeing family". Over half - 58.7% - said they were looking forward to socialising with friends.

71.8% of respondents also said that spending time with family has become more important to them during lockdown.

The majority of people with kids seem to be enjoying more time together, with just 16% of respondents saying they're looking forward to children returning to school.

This may be driven by a fear for children's safety, as 44.6% of respondents said that they would feel "not at all comfortable" with their child returning to school in June, while 19.3% said they would feel "not very comfortable" with the idea.

Just 17.1% said they were looking forward to returning to work.

Responses also indicate that people would like to see visits to friends and family prioritised before a return to work, with 67.4% of people determining these visits "high priority" as restrictions ease.

More mourners at funerals was also determined high priority by many, with 43.3% saying that this should be "high priority".

Re-opening workplaces was considered a "high priority" by 42.9% - around the same percentage who said going outside more often should be "high priority".

Attendance of large public events such as festivals, concerts and sports events was overwhelmingly considered low priority, with 77.9% of respondents saying this should be considered "low priority" as restrictions ease.

Views on how the government have handled the crisis are split, but most think guidance has been clear

51.9% of respondents have a negative view of how the government has handled the crisis, with 28.1% of respondents saying they've handled it "not at all well" and 23.6% saying they've handled it "not very well".

46.3% took a more positive view, with 34% saying the government have handled the crisis "quite well" and 12.32% saying they've handled it "very well". 1.97% were unsure.

However the majority say that guidance on lockdown measures has been clear, with 34.47% saying guidance has been "quite clear" and 29.39% saying it's been "very clear".

More funding for the NHS and recognition of key workers are seen as likely outcomes of the crisis

When asked what outcomes they thought would likely emerge from the coronavirus outbreak, 58.9% predicted greater funding for the NHS, while 56.6% said society would place more value on key workers.

31.1% said a reduction in global warming was likely, while 37.5% think communities will come closer together.