Throughout the period of 1 to 12 December 2021, based on adults in Great Britain:
The proportion of adults reporting they wore a face covering when outside their home in the past seven days increased to 94% (up from 84% in the previous period from 18 to 28 November 2021), with the greatest increase seen in England (94%, up from 83%) following the announcement making face coverings mandatory in shops, on public transport, and in other settings from 30 November 2021.
Since this announcement, most adults (88%) reported wearing a face covering often or always while shopping (up from 71% in the previous period) and 84% said they wore one the whole time while travelling on public transport (up from 70% in the previous period).
There has also been a significant increase in the proportion of adults who noticed others wearing face coverings compared with the previous period: 47% said that everyone or almost everyone was wearing a face covering when shopping (up from 19%) and 45% said the same for public transport (up from 21%).
Around half of adults (46%) reported having received two coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines and a booster, compared with 34% in the previous period (18 to 28 November 2021).
The majority of adults who had received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, but not yet a booster, said they would be very likely or fairly likely (89%) to have a booster vaccine if offered to them, while 5% said they would be very unlikely or fairly unlikely to have it if offered.
Prior to the recent approval of mandatory use of the NHS COVID pass in some venues in England, fewer than 1 in 10 (8%) adults had been asked to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test in the past seven days (excluding for travel abroad), most commonly to attend a theatre or comedy performance (25%), a work or training event (21%), an indoor concert (17%), a care home (13%) or a nightclub or bar (11%).
Over the Christmas period, around 6 in 10 adults (62%) reported they are planning to visit family or friends in their homes, while around 5 in 10 (48%) plan to have family or friends visit them in their home, though 8 in 10 (80%) are planning to stay at home if feeling unwell to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Around 7 in 10 working adults (72%) reported travelling to work at some point in the past seven days, while around 3 in 10 (32%) worked from home at some point, with over a third of all working adults (37%) reporting that compared with before the pandemic, they are now more likely to work from home if they have a cold.
Around 4 in 10 adults (39%) reported they do not expect life to return to normal for more than one year (a rise from 18% in a similar period last year, 2 to 6 December 2020), while 56% of adults were very or somewhat worried about the impact of the pandemic on their lives (a fall from 67% in a similar period last year).
In this period (1 to 12 December), we asked adults about their travel and social plans for Christmas, actions they will take to help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), and spending habits with respect to buying and pre-ordering items for Christmas.
The most frequently reported travel and social activities planned over the Christmas period were:
to visit family or friends in their homes (62%)
to have family or friends visit me in my home (48%)
to meet up with family or friends in restaurants, pubs, bars or cafes (34%)
to visit a Christmas market (22%)
The most commonly reported actions, if any, that adults are planning to take to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 over the Christmas period were:
to stay at home if feeling unwell (80%)
to wash their hands regularly (79%)
to socially distance where possible (71%)
to wear a face covering (71%)
Of all adults, only 19% reported that they had bought items for Christmas that they would normally buy later in the year, while over three-quarters (78%) said that they had not bought or pre-ordered any items for Christmas earlier than normal.
Among those adults who stated that they had bought or pre-ordered items for Christmas, the most commonly reported items purchased were:
clothes, shoes or accessories (42%)
In this period, we continued to ask adults whether they had experienced shortages of any goods at any time in the past two weeks. Just over 3 in 10 (31%) adults reported experiencing shortages (36% in the previous period).
Around 1 in 10 (13%) reported they had not been able to buy essential food because it was not available, down from 17% in the previous period. When food shopping, just over 6 in 10 (61%) reported experiencing some differences compared with the usual. The most commonly reported differences were:
- less variety in the shops (40%)
- items needed were not available, but a replacement was found (20%)
- spending more than usual to get what I normally buy (20%)
- items needed were not available, and a replacement could not be found (16%)
Around 1 in 5 (22%) adults who had tried to buy medicine or get a prescription reported experiencing some differences compared with the usual (27% in the previous period). The most commonly reported differences were:
- having to wait longer for their prescription (13%)
- items needed were not available, but a replacement could be found (4%)
- having to go to more pharmacies to find what they needed (3%)
- items needed were not available, and a replacement could not be found (3%)
This release contains data and indicators from a module being undertaken through the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on British society.
Breakdowns by age, sex, region and country, including confidence intervals for the estimates, are contained in the Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain dataset.
Where changes in results from previous weeks are presented in this bulletin, associated confidence intervals should be used to assess the statistical significance of the differences.
Sampling and weighting
In the period between 1 to 12 December, we sampled 4,496 households. These were randomly selected from those that had previously completed the Labour Market Survey (LMS) or OPN. The responding sample contained 3,276 individuals, representing a 73% response rate. This sample size is slightly smaller than in previous periods to help ensure the survey remains sustainable.
Survey weights were applied to make estimates representative of the population (based on June 2021 population estimates). Further information on the survey design and quality can be found in the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey Quality and Methodology Information (QMI).Back to table of contents
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
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