Canadians would largely support shutting down most businesses if the second wave of COVID-19 occurs, poll results suggest.
A new Ipsos poll indicates that 75 percent of Canadians agree with shutting down most non-essential businesses quickly in the event of a second wave, with 37 percent strongly agreeing and 38 percent somewhat agreeing.
The survey, conducted between Sept. 11 and Sept. 14, found that about three-quarters of the respondents expected their communities to be hit with a second wave this fall, with 85 percent of Alberta residents the most likely to believe that will be the case, followed by Ontario residents (78 percent), Quebec (77 percent), British Columbia (74 percent), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (69 percent), and Atlantic Canada (65 percent).
On Sept. 17, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa said in a statement that the upswing of new COVID-19 cases is a “cause for concern.”
“An average of 779 new cases have been reported daily during the most recent seven days,” Tam said.
“With continued circulation of the virus, the situation could change quickly and we could lose the ability to keep COVID-19 cases at manageable levels.”
The poll found that gender to be a more determinant factor than age when it comes to concerns about being infected with the virus. Seventy-two percent of women said they were concerned, whereas 55 percent of men were.
Ipsos Public Affairs CEO Darrell Bricker told Global News that the men’s results reflect the general pattern shown in health polling data.
“They tend to pay less attention to their health,” Bricker said. “They tend to be less concerned about things that are risky.”
As for age, people within the age range of 55+ and 35-54 show only a one percent difference—66 percent and 65 percent. The exception is the 18-34 age range, which is slightly below 60 percent. But overall, close to two-thirds of Canadians said they were concerned about contracting COVID-19.
When asked whether vaccination should be mandatory after a vaccine is developed, 63 percent of respondents were supportive. However, that support has dropped 9 points since July, according to Ipsos.
In response to how confident respondents feel about their province’s ability to be ready to deal with a potential second wave, 71 percent responded positively, with 14 percent strongly agreeing, and 57 percent somewhat agreeing.
In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, however, 42 percent disagreed—the highest among the other provinces, which range between 16 percent and 33 percent.
Tam said in her statement that local public health authorities “can’t do this alone; the actions of individuals of Canadians are key to keeping COVID-19 cases at manageable levels.”
Regarding schools reopening, 38 percent of the poll respondents felt that the governments opened the schools too soon, while more than half said the pace of reopening schools has been just right.
As of Thursday, Ontario reported 11 new COVID-19 cases among students and staff in publicly funded schools provincewide, adding up to a total of 72 cases.
The poll also asked respondents about the federal government’s support programs initiated after the lockdown began in March, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit for individuals and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy for businesses.
Most of the respondents (63 percent) agreed that the monetary amount given to those who lost their jobs has been just right, 17 percent said it wasn’t enough, and 20 percent felt that the government gave too much.
Nearly 70 percent believed the funds given to businesses to keep their employees was about right, with 21 percent thinking the support was too little, and 12 percent too much.