Table of contents
1. Main points
Throughout the period of 22 September to 3 October 2021, based on adults in Great Britain:
Most adults (85%) felt that wearing a face covering was either very important or important as a measure to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19); at the same time 86% of adults reported they wore a face covering when outside their home in the past seven days compared with 88% in the previous period (8 to 19 September 2021), continuing a trend of gradual decline since the start of July 2021.
Most adults (85%) felt that socially distancing from others not in their household was either very important or important; a smaller proportion of adults (40%) reported that they always or often maintained social distancing when outside their home compared with 45% in the previous period, a figure which has steadily decreased since the start of May 2021.
Just over half of adults (55%) reported that they avoided physical contact with others outside their home in the past seven days, a reduction of 4 percentage points from the previous period (59%).
When friends and family had come into their home, the most common actions adults reported to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 were washing hands regularly (35%), opening windows or doors (34%), maintaining social distancing (18%) and cleaning touch points (17%); around 4 in 10 adults (39%) reported friends and family had not come into their homes in the past seven days.
The proportion of adults who reported self-isolating in the past seven days remained stable (3% in both this period and the previous period); the main reasons adults self-isolated were that they had been in contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19 (34%), they had COVID-19 symptoms (31%), or because they had tested positive for COVID-19 (24%).
Personal well-being measures of life satisfaction (7.1 in this period, 7.0 in the previous period), feeling that the things done in life are worthwhile (7.4 in this period, 7.3 in the previous period), happiness (7.1 in both this period and the previous period) and anxiety (4.0 in both this period and the previous period) all remained stable.
Among working adults, 67% reported travelling to work at some point in the past seven days, an increase of 2 percentage points compared with the previous period (65%); 29% of working adults reported working from home at some point in the past seven days, unchanged from the previous period.
In this period, for the first time, we asked adults in Great Britain about the likelihood of children in their household aged between 12 and 15 years receiving a coronavirus vaccine, around 7 in 10 (71%) responded that this is very likely or fairly likely.
In this period, we also asked adults in Great Britain whether they had experienced shortages of any goods at any time in the past two weeks1:
Around 1 in 6 (17%) adults reported that they had not been able to buy essential food items because they were not available; around 1 in 7 (15%) were unable to buy fuel; around 1 in 4 (23%) reported that they had not been able to buy other non-essential food items; and around 6 in 10 (57%) reported that everything they needed had been available to buy.
When food shopping, around 6 in 10 (61%) of adults reported experiencing some differences compared with usual; the most commonly reported were that there was less variety in the shops (43%), 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 to get what they needed (14%).
Around 2 in 10 (23%) of 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 (6%), that items needed were not available and they could not find a replacement (5%), or that they had to go to more pharmacies to find what they needed (4%).
Most adults (85%) reported that their food shopping habits had not changed in the past two weeks, 5% reported buying more and 10% reported 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.
3. Measuring the data
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
From the period between 4 and 8 August 2021 onwards, OPN sample size was reduced to around 5,000 households in each period to help ensure the survey remains sustainable. In this period between 22 September and 3 October, we sampled 5,000 households. These were randomly selected from those that had previously completed the Labour Market Survey (LMS) or OPN. The responding sample contained 3,326 individuals, representing a 67% 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
Telephone: +44 300 0671543
2. Social impacts on Great Britain data
Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain
Dataset | Released 8 October 2021
Indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on people, households and communities in Great Britain. Includes breakdowns by age, sex and region.
Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain: Likelihood of a child receiving a vaccine for coronavirus (COVID-19)
Dataset | Released 8 October 2021
Dataset from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) on the likelihood of children aged between 12 and 15 years receiving a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine.
Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain: Personal experience of shortage of goods
Dataset | Released on 8 October 2021
Data from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) on whether people experienced shortage of goods such as food, medicine and fuel when shopping.