Two-thirds (64%) of adults in Great Britain said they still plan to cover their faces in shops, following the lifting of most coronavirus legal restrictions in England from 19 July 2021.

The same percentage (64%) plan to wear masks on public transport, while 60% plan to avoid crowded places.

Over half (54%) of adults said they are looking forward to going on holiday abroad when coronavirus rules end.

In our latest weekly release from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey, a large majority of adults continued to feel that wearing face coverings (90%) and social distancing from others not in their household, childcare or support bubble are important (88%) in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

More than half (57%) of adults in Great Britain, surveyed between 7 and 11 July 2021, said they are worried about the plan to remove legal restrictions. This includes one-fifth (20%) who are very worried.

The percentage that believe normal life is a year or more away was 28%, slightly more than the 25% who believed this a year ago, between 8 and 12 July 2020, but down from the peak of 41% who thought so between 16 and 20 September 2020.

The easing of restrictions differs between countries. In England, face coverings will no longer be required by law, but will be required on public transport in London and other parts of the country as a condition of travel.

In Scotland, restrictions are also being eased on 19 July 2021 but there will still be limits on how many people can meet indoors and outdoors, with one-metre physical distancing and a cap of 200 people at weddings and funerals. Face coverings will also continue to be required.

In Wales, from 17 July 2021 up to six people will be allowed to meet indoors, and indoor events will be permitted for up to 1,000 people seated and up to 200 standing. Most other restrictions in Wales will be lifted from 7 August. However, face coverings will still be required in most indoor public spaces, except for hospitality businesses.

The majority of adults still plan to cover their faces in shops and on public transport

Question: When coronavirus (COVID-19) rules end, which of these, if any, do you think you will still do? Adults in Great Britain, 7 to 11 July 2021

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Notes:
  1. Base: all adults except for the “work from home” category, which is among working adults.
  2. Response categories “Other, please specify” and “None of the above” are not included in this chart.

Download data for measures adults plan to take when coronavirus rules end (XLSX, 19 KB)

Mask wearing both in shops and on public transport is likely to be lowest among younger people, with 51% of those aged 16 to 29 years saying they were planning to do so in either setting.

The percentage of people likely to wear masks in shops increases with age, with 74% of those aged 70 years and over planning to do so. On public transport, 69% of those aged 70 years and over said they plan to wear face coverings compared with 70% aged 50 to 69 years.

Almost half of adults (49%) plan to maintain social distancing around others they do not live with. The percentage was lowest among those aged 16 to 29 years (31%) and highest among those aged 50 to 69 years (59%).

Among working adults, 30% plan to work from home. Previous analysis has shown that in 2020, the proportion of individuals working remotely has been declining since March 2021 as restrictions began to ease. Evidence from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey and Business Insights and Conditions Survey suggests individuals and workplaces anticipate increased levels of hybrid working after the pandemic.

Three-quarters (75%) of adults plan to sanitise their hands regularly.

Almost one-third (32%) of adults are likely to avoid travelling abroad, however, it was announced during the survey period, on 8 July 2021, that the rules would be changed to allow double-vaccinated people to go to amber list countries without quarantining on their return to the UK.

Younger people are the most likely to want to do activities that involve meeting others

Question: Which of these are you looking forward to doing when coronavirus (COVID-19) rules end? Adults in Great Britain, 7 to 11 July 2021.

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Notes:
  1. Base: all adults except for the “stopping working from home” category, which is among working adults.
  2. Categories “other” and “none of the above” are not included in this chart.

Download data for activities adults are looking forward to (XLSX, 19 KB)

People aged 16 to 29 years were the most likely age group to be looking forward to activities that involve meeting others. This age group had the highest percentages wanting to do activities such as meeting indoors with no limits on the number of people (54%), going to the cinema or theatre with no social distancing (47%), staying at someone else’s house with no limits on numbers of guests (46%), or going to concerts or nightclubs (44%).

When asked what they were looking forward to doing when restrictions end, going on holiday abroad was the option that was chosen most, by 54% of adults.

Younger people aged 16 to 29 years were the most likely to say they wanted to do this (62%).

It was also the most commonly selected option for all other age groups except those aged 70 years and older.

Among those aged 70 years and older, 47% of adults chose “hugging people I do not live with” as something they were looking forward to when restrictions are lifted. It was also chosen by 48% of adults overall. However, there have been different rules on meeting and hugging indoors in different nations.

With no more limits on guests at weddings, 47% of adults were looking forward to attending life events.

Restrictions will also be lifted on communal worship. Of all adults, 18% said they were looking forward to singing with others in a public indoor place.

Around 7% of working adults said they were looking forward to no longer working from home.

A majority of people are worried about the lifting of rules in England

Question: How worried or unworried are you about the plan to end coronavirus (COVID-19) rules in England on 19 July? Adults in Great Britain, 7 to 11 July 2021

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Notes:
  1. The categories “don't know” and “prefer not to say” are not included in this chart.
  2. Base: all adults.
  3. This question refers to the plan to remove legal restrictions in England but is asked of all adults in Great Britain.

Download data for how worried or unworried adults are (XLSX, 18 KB)

Asked how much of a personal risk they thought catching coronavirus was to them, 29% of adults in Great Britain overall considered it to be a very high or high risk and 32% considered it to be a very low or low risk.

While younger people are more likely than older people to be keen to do things that involve meeting others, those aged 16 to 29 years also considered themselves to have the lowest personal risk from catching coronavirus (COVID-19). 47% of this age group said they considered themselves to be at very low or low risk.

Those aged 70 years and over considered themselves to be at the most risk, with 39% considering themselves to be at very high or high risk.

Among adults in Great Britain, 20% were very worried and 36% somewhat worried about the plan to end coronavirus (COVID-19) rules in England on 19 July 2021.

This compares with 5% who were somewhat unworried and 15% of adults who were not at all worried about the plan.

Despite recent coronavirus infections being highest in younger age groups, those aged 16 to 29 years were the least likely to say they were worried, with 42% either very or somewhat worried.

Among those aged 30 to 49 years and 50 to 69 years, 22% of people were very worried about the plan to end restrictions.

The UK government has said that while the pandemic is not over, there is evidence that the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has weakened the link between cases, hospital admissions and deaths.

More people think it will be at least a year before normal life returns than think it will be within six months

Adults in Great Britain, March 2020 to July 2021

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Notes:
  1. Question: "How long do you think it will be before your life returns to normal?".
  2. Base: all adults.
  3. Response categories of "7 to 12 months", "Not sure" and "Prefer not to say" are not shown on this chart.
  4. Proportions of less than 1% are not included on this chart.

Download data for how long adults think it will be before life returns to normal (XLSX, 29 KB)

Even with the plan to ease coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in England from 19 July 2021, more adults in Great Britain (28%) still believed that normal life is a year or more away than believed it will return in six months or less (20%), according to those surveyed between 7 and 11 July 2021.

The point at which people thought normal life was the furthest away was between 16 and 20 September 2020, when 41% of people believed it would be at least another 12 months from then.

This was around the time the “rule of six” which limited social mixing came into force, followed by other restrictions from limiting the opening hours of certain businesses, such as pubs, to limits on the number of guests at weddings and civil partnerships.

The percentage of adults who believed normal life was at least a year away fell around the start of a second national lockdown in England, in November 2020, which was also when it was revealed that a COVID-19 vaccine offered significant protection.

In February 2021, it was announced that there was to be a four-stage roadmap out of lockdown in England. At around this point, 20% believed that normal life was at least 12 months away, the lowest proportion since the early 2021 lockdown. This then increased over the following months.

Even with the announcement that many restrictions will be lifted, 7% of adults asked in the latest week believed that normal life, as it was before the pandemic, will never return, while 24% were not sure.

View all data used in this article

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