Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain: 14 May 2021

Indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey covering the period 5 to 9 May 2021 to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on people, households and communities in Great Britain.

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Contact:
Email Tim Vizard, Geeta Kerai and Rhian Murphy

Release date:
14 May 2021

Next release:
21 May 2021

1. Main points

This week, over the period 5 to 9 May 2021, based on adults in Great Britain:

  • Compliance with measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) remained high for adults reporting handwashing when returning home (88% this week, 87% last week) and using a face covering (97% this week, 98% last week); however, those maintaining social distancing with people outside their household, childcare or support bubble was 79%, down from 84% last week with further easing of meeting restrictions.

  • Of the adults who reported to leave home in the last seven days, nearly a quarter (23%) did so to eat or drink at a restaurant or pub with the re-opening of businesses for outdoor use; a similar proportion (23%) was reported between 28 October and 1 November 2020, when similar winter restrictions were being implemented for each nation.

  • The proportion of adults meeting up indoors with someone not in their household, childcare or support bubble in the last seven days increased by 9 percentage points to 19% when compared with last week; this includes changes to the rules in Wales to allow two households to meet indoors from 3 May 2021.

  • The proportion of adults meeting up outdoors not in their household, childcare or support bubble (57%) was similar to last week (56%); an increase from the 19% reported between 10 to 14 March 2021.

  • 6 in 10 (60%) of adults reported leaving home for work in the past seven days; unchanged from last week but a notable increase since mid-February 2021 (44% in the period 10 to 14 February).

  • Personal well-being levels remain relatively stable with the following measures unchanged from last week; feelings that things done in life are worthwhile (7.4), happiness (7.0) and anxiety (3.9), while levels of life satisfaction improved slightly (7.1 from 7.0 last week).

  • Positive sentiment towards the COVID-19 vaccine remained high; 95% of adults reported they had now either received a vaccine or would be likely to have a vaccine if offered; a slight increase when compared with last week (93%).

  • Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) adults reported to have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which includes over 3 in 10 (33%) adults reporting to have received their second dose.

Last week, between 28 April to 3 May 2021, we asked questions on how the coronavirus has affected the likelihood of adults attending organised events. Based on adults in Great Britain:

  • Four in ten adults (41%) were more positive about attending an event if they were required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, saying this would make them more likely to attend.

  • In comparison, just over 7 in 10 (71%) adults said they would be less likely to attend an organised event if they had to spend an extra two hours in the venue for a socially distanced exit.

  • Other measures such as no social distancing, wearing a face covering during the entire event and not being able to eat or buy food also made adults less likely to want to attend an event.

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The estimates presented here are based on data collected after the further easing of lockdown restrictions that were introduced across Great Britain from 12 April 2021 in addition to changes to the rules in Wales to allow two households to meet indoors from 3 May.

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2. Main indicators

Compliance with most measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) remained high this week (Table 1), with 88% of adults reporting always or often handwashing after returning home and 97% using a face covering.

The proportion of adults maintaining social distancing with people outside their household, childcare and support bubble has fallen to 79% this week; a general decrease from the 88% of adults reporting this between 7 and 11 April.

From 3 May, further meeting restrictions lifted in Wales to allow two households to meet indoors and form an extended household. Similar restrictions were implemented with Scotland entering level 3 from 26 April, and in England, indoor leisure facilities re-opened with step 2 of the roadmap from 12 April. These easing of restrictions may have contributed to the increase in the proportion of adults who met indoors with someone not in their household, childcare or support bubble in the last seven days (19%); a 9 percentage point increase from last week (10%).

The proportion of adults staying home and only leaving for work, essential shopping or medical needs in the past seven days continued to fall to 20% this week, which is the lowest it has been since 16 to 20 September 2020 at 19%.

The proportion of working adults travelling to work at some point in the last seven days has increased in recent weeks, now at 60% (the same as last week); this was at 44% at the beginning of the year between 10 and 14 February (Table 1).

Table 1: Main indicators

Great Britain, up to 9 May 2021

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Notes:
  1. “Latest” refers to responses collected during the period 5 to 9 May 2021.
  2. Any breaks in the series shown is due to questions not being asked for this period.
  3. The axes for each timeline are not comparable as as such should be treated with caution when interpreting the extent of changes over time between each indicator
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This week we changed the way we published our main indicators table. We welcome any feedback on this change to ensure we continue to meet user need.

Further statistics on compliance with measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, including trends over time, can be found in Tables 1a to 6 of the Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain dataset.

Throughout the bulletin:

  • "this week" refers to responses collected during the period 5 to 9 May 2021
  • "last week" refers to responses collected during the period 28 April to 3 May 2021

More about coronavirus

Reasons for leaving home

Over 9 in 10 (95%) adults in Great Britain reported leaving home this week, same as last week. Figure 1 shows some of the reasons adults have reported for leaving home.

Amongst adults who reported leaving home in the last seven days:

  • nearly a quarter (23%) did so to eat or drink at a restaurant, bar or pub as more of these services opened up for outdoor use; the same proportion was reported between 28 October and 1 November when similar restrictions were being implemented across each nation (from the 14 October 2020, England entered local restrictions by tiers, followed by a four-week lockdown from 5 November 2020; Wales entered a two-week firebreak from the 23 October 2020 followed by alert level 4 restrictions; and Scotland introduced protection levels from 2 December 2020)

  • a quarter (25%) did so to meet with their support bubble (23% last week and an increase from 12% between 20 to 24 January)

  • 15% did so to visit a hair salon or barber (17% last week)

  • 28% did so to visit a park or local green space (26% last week)

  • 30% did so to shop for things other than basic necessities (28% last week and a continued increase from the 9% reported between 24 to 28 February)

  • 15% did so for any medical need, including to get a COVID-19 vaccine (16% last week)

Figure 1: Amongst adults who reported leaving home in the last seven days, nearly a quarter (23%) did so to eat or drink at a restaurant, bar or pub as more opened for outdoor use

Of adults who reported they had left home in the past seven days for any reason, Great Britain, December 2020 to May 2021

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Notes:
  1. Question: "In the past seven days, for what reasons have you left your home?".
  2. Base: all adults who reported having in the past seven days left their home for any reason.
  3. Not all possible response categories are shown on this chart. For information on response options to these questions, please see Table 6 of the dataset associated with this bulletin.
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3. Personal well-being

This week, personal well-being levels were stable, with feelings that the things done in life are worthwhile (7.4), happiness (7.0) and anxiety (3.9) all unchanged from the previous week.

Levels of life satisfaction increased slightly this week to 7.1 (7.0 last week).

All measures are generally yet to recover to their pre-pandemic levels in February 2020 (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Measures of well-being remained relatively stable this week

Adults in Great Britain, March 2020 to May 2021

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Notes:
  1. Questions: "Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?", "Overall, to what extent do you feel that the things you do in your life are worthwhile?", "Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?" and "Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?".

  2. These questions are answered on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is "not at all" and 10 is "completely".

  3. Base: all adults.

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4. Attitudes to COVID-19 vaccination

This week, 95% of adults reported positive vaccine sentiment; up from 93% last week. This included adults who had received at least one dose of a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, adults who said they would be very or fairly likely to have a vaccine if offered and adults who have been offered and are currently waiting to receive a vaccine.

As the vaccination programme now progresses to younger age groups, we have looked at how vaccination sentiment by age has changed since early December:

  • just over 9 in 10 (91%) people aged 30 to 49 years reported positive vaccine sentiment, unchanged from last week; this proportion was 74% at the start of the vaccination programme in December 2020

  • around 9 in 10 (90%) people aged 16 to 29 years reported positive vaccine sentiment; a notable increase from the 63% reported in December 2020 (Figure 3)

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The estimates presented here are from a sample of adults, and may differ from the latest official administrative data on the number of adults in Great Britain and its constituent countries who have received a COVID-19 vaccination.

Figure 3: Over 9 in 10 (95%) adults have received or would be likely to accept a COVID-19 vaccine if offered

Adults in Great Britain, December 2020 to May 2021

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Notes:
  1. Questions: "Have you received a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19)?", "Have you been offered the vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19)?" and "If a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19) was offered to you, how likely or unlikely would you be to have the vaccine?".

  2. Base: all adults.

  3. Questions asked about attitudes toward the COVID-19 vaccination have changed over the survey periods shown so interpretation of this time series should be made with caution. For more information please see the datasets associated with this bulletin.

  4. Categories of "Adults who have been offered and declined the vaccine or would be very or fairly unlikely to have the vaccine if offered", "Neither", "Don't know" and "Prefer not to say" are not shown on this chart.

  5. For the period 10 to 14 February, the 99% indicated on the chart for those aged 70 years and above represent a proportion of greater than 99% but less than 100%.

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The 95% of adults in Great Britain this week who reported positive vaccine sentiment¹ is made up of those who reported that they either:

  • had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at 69%, which includes 1 in 3 (33%) adults having received a second dose

  • had been offered a vaccine and were awaiting their first dose (3%)

  • had not yet been offered a vaccine but were likely (very or fairly likely) to have one when offered (23%) (Figure 4)

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A similar proportion of adults reported to have received at least one dose is reported in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey release. Our survey does not include adults living in care homes or other establishments, so will not capture vaccinations in these settings. Because of small sample sizes, the percentage of adults who have declined the vaccine should be treated with caution. For more information please see the Glossary.

Figure 4: Over 3 in 10 (33%) adults said they had received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

Adults in Great Britain, 5 to 9 May 2021

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Notes:
  1. Questions: "Have you received a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19)?", "Have you been offered the vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19)?" and "If a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19) was offered to you, how likely or unlikely would you be to have the vaccine?"

  2. Base: all adults.

  3. Totals may not sum to 100% because of rounding and because proportions of less than 1% are not included in this chart.

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Further statistics on attitudes to vaccines this week can be found in Table 12 of the Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain dataset.

For more information on attitudes to COVID-19 vaccines among different sub-groups of the population, including breakdowns by age, sex, ethnic group and disability status, see:

Notes for: Attitudes to COVID-19 vaccination

  1. Totals for the combined category of "positive vaccine sentiment" or "vaccine hesitancy" may appear to be different than if combining the individual category estimates shown in Figure 4 because of rounding.
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5. Attitudes to attending events

Last week, we also asked adults to tell us how the coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected their likelihood of attending organised events. This data relates to the period from 28 April to 3 May 2021.

We found that 4 in 10 adults (41%) were more positive about attending an event if they were required to show proof of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test, saying this would make them more (or much more) likely to attend.

In comparison, just over 7 in 10 (71%) adults said they would be less likely to attend an organised event if they had to spend an extra two hours in the venue for a socially distanced exit.

Other measures such as no social distancing, wearing a face covering during the entire event and not being able to eat or buy food also made adults less likely to want to attend an event (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Just over 7 in 10 (71%) adults said they would be less likely to attend an event if they had to spend an extra two hours in the venue for a socially distanced exit

Adults in Great Britain, 28 April to 3 May 2021

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Notes:
  1. Questions: "Compared to before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, how much more or less likely would you be to go to an organised event if no social distancing measures were in place?” , “Compared to before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, how much more or less likely would you be to go to an organised event if you needed to have proof of a recent negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test?“, "Compared to before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, how much more or less likely would you be to go to a large organised event if you had to spend an extra two hours in the venue so that people could stay socially distanced when leaving?”, “Compared to before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, how much more or less likely would you be to go to a two-hour event if you had to wear a face covering?“ and "Compared to before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, how much more or less likely would you be to go to a two-hour event if you were not allowed to buy or eat food?”.
  2. Base: all adults.
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6. Social impacts on Great Britain data

Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain
Dataset | Released 14 May 2021
Indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on people, households and communities in Great Britain. Includes breakdowns by at-risk age, sex and underlying health condition.

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7. 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.

Positive vaccine sentiment

"Positive vaccine sentiment" refers to adults who:

  • have received the vaccine

  • have been offered the vaccine and waiting to be vaccinated

  • report being very or fairly likely to have the vaccine if offered

Our survey does not include adults living in care homes or other establishments so will not capture vaccinations in these settings. Because of small sample sizes, the percentage of adults who have declined the vaccine should be treated with caution.

Estimates of attitudes towards vaccination provided since 13 to 17 January should be used with caution when compared with any weeks prior to this. In the weeks prior to this, adults were asked their likelihood of having a vaccine if offered, but were not specifically asked if they had already been offered or received a vaccine.

Sampling and weighting

In the week 5 to 9 May 2021 a sample of 5,922 households was randomly selected from those that had previously completed the Labour Market Survey (LMS).

The responding sample contained 4,148 individuals, representing a 70% response rate.

Survey weights were applied to make estimates representative of the population (based on May 2021 population estimates).

Further information on the survey design and quality can be found in the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey Quality and Methodology Information.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Tim Vizard, Geeta Kerai and Rhian Murphy
policy.evidence.analysis@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)300 0671543