Health care workers test patients in a COVID-19 drive thru assessment centre at a Hospital in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, March 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Most abiding by COVID-19 rules, back fines, arrests of those who aren’t: poll

But 64 per cent said they’ve personally witnessed people not respecting the measures

Most Canadians are doing what they’re told to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and would support harsher measures to punish those who aren’t, a new poll suggests.

Of the 1,590 adults surveyed between March 27 and 29, the vast majority said they were practising social distancing (97 per cent), keeping at least two metres apart from others (95 per cent), washing their hands more frequently than usual (95 per cent), going out only for necessities (94 per cent) and coughing or sneezing into their elbows (92 per cent).

As well, 86 per cent said they’ve asked family and friends to practice social distancing. However, 15 per cent said they’ve visited friends or family.

Fully 64 per cent said they’ve personally witnessed people not respecting the measures implemented to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

A whopping 92 per cent they’d agree if governments authorized police to fine such people as some jurisdictions have begun doing; 82 per cent would agree to police arresting those who disrespect the measures.

And 77 per cent said they’d agree to a complete quarantine of an entire city if necessary, allowing no one to enter or leave except for essential services.

For now, however, the poll, conducted jointly by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, suggests Canadians are broadly satisfied with the measures their governments have been taking to deal with the crisis.

Seventy per cent of respondents said they were very or somewhat satisfied with the federal government’s response, up five points from last week. Seventy-nine per cent were satisfied with their provincial government’s response, fuelled by a 92 per cent satisfaction rate in Quebec, while 67 per cent were satisfied with their municipal government’s response.

“Our sort of natural capacity as Canadians to trust government is probably what will help us get through this in better shape relative to our southern neighbours,” said Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque.

The level of satisfaction among Canadians was in stark contrast to the 1,004 Americans who were simultaneously surveyed: just 47 per cent said they were satisfied with the U.S. federal government’s response, presided over by President Donald Trump.

The poll found the proportion of Canadian respondents who weren’t taking the crisis seriously went down three percentage points over the past week — to 17 per cent who said it’s totally or partly overblown.

At the same time, the level of fear rose five points, with 62 per cent saying they were very or somewhat afraid of contracting the disease themselves and 73 per cent afraid for a member of their immediate family.

Eight per cent said they know someone who has contracted the disease — up four points from last week.

Fully 92 per cent said COVID-19 represents a major threat to Canada’s economy, 77 per cent said it’s a major threat to the health of the country’s population, 73 per cent to daily life in their community, 54 per cent to their personal financial situation and 45 per cent to their personal health.

Fifty-four per cent said the crisis had already harmed their retirement savings or other investments, 45 per cent said they’ve seen their income decrease, 41 per cent said their ability to financially assist family members has declined, 27 per cent said it’s hurt their ability to pay their bills and 22 per cent said it’s hurt their ability to pay their mortgages or rent.

Even so, 65 per cent said they think the worst is yet to come.

Respondents were randomly recruited from Leger’s online panel. The poll cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet surveys are not considered random samples.

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Music education remains important, especially during pandemic

‘Music really does lift people up in times of trial,’ says Sandowne music teacher

Local liquor store raising funds for food bank

On May 30, a portion of sales at JAK’s Beer Wine & Spirits will be donated to the food bank

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

City of Campbell River re-opening most park amenities and outdoor washrooms

Splash park, playgrounds, sports fields, outdoor volleyball courts, indoor facilities not yet

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Mirror business directory and map

If you’d like to be added to the list, shoot us an email

Alert Bay: COVID-19 cases go from 30 to zero thanks to health and emergency planning

Dr. Cutfeet says community leadership set Alert Bay up for success

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Three people facing mischief charges after protests at Premier John Horgan’s home

Special prosecutor was appointed to avoid real or perceived undue influence

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

Most Read