Most Britons want COVID restrictions to remain – poll

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Two thirds of people in Britain think at least some coronavirus restrictions should stay in place after July 19 when Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to do away with them in England, according to an opinion poll published on Thursday.

Sixty-six percent of people taking part in the poll by Kantar Public wanted some, most or all of the restrictions to remain and 60% thought everyone should continue to wear face masks in shops and on public transport.

Johnson has said people in England should use their own judgement about whether to use masks after July 19.

However, Scotland’s devolved government said on Tuesday that masks would remain mandatory after most other rules are lifted on Aug. 9, and London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan has said they must be worn on the capital’s public transport system.

The Kantar poll found 29% of respondents agreed that Britain needed to learn to live with COVID-19 without any restrictions.

On the economy, it found the highest level of job security since the pandemic began, with 21% of those in work saying their job felt safer than a year ago. The proportion who felt their job was insecure, also 21%, was the lowest since September 2019.

One in four said their savings decreased since the start of the pandemic, 41% said they stayed the same and 20% said their savings have increased.

Of the people who saved extra money, 11% intended to spend it all by the end of the year while 63% said they will spend some or none of it this year.

The Bank of England is keeping a close eye on how much of the extra savings racked up by consumers during the lockdowns is spent as the central bank gauges whether to ease up on its huge stimulus programme for the economy.

Kantar surveyed 1,057 people online between July 7 and 12. 

Photo: A two metre social distancing sign at a retail store in London, Britain. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN