Throughout the period of 8 to 19 September 2021, based on adults in Great Britain:
A high proportion of adults felt that measures to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) were either very important or important; including wearing a face covering (86% in this period, 87% in the previous period between 25 August and 5 September 2021) and socially distancing from others not in their household (86% in this period, 87% in the previous period).
A high proportion of adults reported they wore a face covering when outside their home (88% in this period, 89% in the previous period) although a smaller proportion reported they always or often maintained social distancing when meeting with people outside their household (45% in this period, 46% in the previous period).
When friends and family had come into their home, the most common actions adults reported taking to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 were opening windows or doors (37%), washing hands regularly (35%), maintaining social distancing (19%) and cleaning touch points (14%); 4 in 10 adults (40%) reported friends and family had not come into their homes in the past seven days.
The proportion of adults that reported self-isolating in the last seven days remained stable (3% in both this period and the previous period).
The main reasons adults self-isolated in the last seven days were because of testing positive for COVID-19 (26%), being worried about catching COVID-19 (25%), or being in contact with someone who have tested positive for COVID-19 (20%).
Personal well-being measures of life satisfaction (7.0 in this period, 7.1 in the previous period), feeling that the things done in life are worthwhile (7.3 in both this period and in the previous period), happiness (7.1 in both this period and the previous period) and anxiety (4.0 in this period, 3.9 in the previous period) remained stable.
Among working adults, 65% reported travelling to work (either exclusively or in combination with working from home) in the past seven days, which is an increase of 8 percentage points compared with the previous period (57%); 29% of working adults reported working from home in the past seven days (either exclusively or in combination with travelling to work) which is a slight decrease of 3 percentage points compared with the previous period (32%).
In this period, for the first time, we also asked adults in Great Britain about if they had experienced shortages of any goods at any time in the past two weeks1:
Around 1 in 6 (18%) adults reported they had not been able to buy essential food items as they were not available at some point during the past two weeks; a quarter (25%) reported they had not been able to buy other non-essential food items, and a smaller proportion reported they had not been able to buy medicine (4%) or fuel (4%); around 6 in 10 (61%) reported that everything they needed had been available to buy.
Around 2 in 10 (22%) adults who had tried to buy medicine or get a prescription reported experiencing some differences compared with the usual; the most commonly reported were that they had to wait longer for their prescriptions (13%), that items they needed were not available but they could find a replacement (5%), that items needed were not available and they could not find a replacement (4%), or that they had to go to more pharmacies than usual to find what they needed (4%).
When food shopping, around 6 in 10 (58%) of adults reported experiencing some differences compared with the usual; the most commonly reported were that there was less variety in the shops than usual (40%), that items they needed were not available but they could find a replacement (20%), that items they needed were not available and they could not find a replacement (20%), or that they had to go to more shops than usual to get what they needed (13%).
85% of adults reported their food shopping habits had not changed in the past two weeks, 6% reported buying more and 8% buying less.
Notes for: Main points
- Totals for estimates regarding adults’ experiences of shortages of goods may not sum to 100%, as respondents were able to choose more than one option. Please see the datasets provided with this bulletin for further detail.
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.
As we have moved to a period where restrictions have been lifted across Great Britain, from September 2021, the OPN has moved to a fortnightly data collection. This brings us into line with data collection on the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS). The next bulletin will be published on 8 October 2021.
Sampling and weighting
From the period between 4 and 8 August 2021 onwards, the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) sample size was reduced to around 5,000 households in each period to help ensure the survey remains sustainable. In this period between 8 and 19 September 2021, we sampled 4,994 households. These were randomly selected from those that had previously completed the Labour Market Survey (LMS) or OPN. The responding sample contained 3,576 individuals, representing a 72% response rate.
Survey weights were applied to make estimates representative of the population (based on September 2021 population estimates). Further information on the survey design and quality can be found in the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey Quality and Methodology Information.Back to table of contents
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
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