Nearly 80% of BC residents support plan to gradually reopen the economy: survey

May 8 2020, 7:08 pm

The vast majority of BC residents support the idea of a gradual reopening of the provincial economy, according to a new Insights West survey this week.

Nearly eight-in-10 respondents (79%) support the plan announced on Wednesday, including 32% who “strongly support.” But the reopening of the economy over several stages also has its opponents, with 18% against the plan at this time, including 5% who are “strongly opposed.”

As it turns out, younger respondents were less likely to support the plan, with 68% between the ages of 18 and 34 indicating support, contrasted with 81% between ages 35 and 54, and 84% for ages 55 and over.

At the same time, over four-in-10 respondents (41%) believe the plan over the next few months is too fast. But 46% believe the pace of reopening is just right, while 10% believe the plan is too slow.

Younger generations were again more skeptical of the plan’s pace, with 53% of ages 18 to 34 believing it to be too fast compared to 38% for ages 35 to 54, and 37% for ages 55 and over.

“Rarely in polling do we find support above 70% for any public initiative that is announced by a standing Premier,” said Steve Mossop, president of Insights West, in a statement.

“John Horgan can rest assured that the public is backing his plan—and if anything, he should continue to proceed ultra-cautiously, as BC residents are leaning towards a very conservative approach of ‘returning to normal’ in the Province of BC as this pandemic unfolds.”

Support is highest for the restart of elective surgeries, with 60% supporting the plan and 31% thinking it should happen sooner. Seven-in-10 respondents (70%) support the reopening of dentistry, chiropractic, physiotherapy, and in-person counselling services.

Over half of respondents (53%) would like to see their hair salon and barber open.

Equal proportions are supportive and opposed to the restart of dine-in restaurant operations, with supporters and opponents each at 45%.

There is greater support for the reopening of other retail businesses, with 58% believing the plan is acceptable. But more than a quarter (27%) believe this should be delayed.

With small gatherings, 43% of respondents are supportive of the plan, while 47% think it should be allowed later.

Just under half of respondents (49%) like the idea of reopening provincial parks for day use.

When it comes to expanding in-person schooling for Kindergarten to Grade 12 students on a voluntary basis, 40% are supportive, but 41% want to see this happen at a later point.

Overall, many respondents noted they will be restricting their movements to some degree.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents (74%) will hold off on making a non-essential trip to another province. Only about a quarter (26%) would travel to another area of Canada.

Moreover when it comes to their own behaviour, most respondents would hold off on visiting indoor tourist destinations (72%), dining in restaurants (65%), sending children to school (65%), playing indoor sports (53%), and visiting outdoor tourist destinations (53%).

Respondents indicated they were more likely to make a non-essential trip within BC (55%), go back to work in their usual work environment (55%), attend or host a social gathering with a small group of friends (56%), visit other retailers like clothing stores (60%), use non-urgent healthcare services like dentistry and physiotherapy (68%), play outdoor sports (72%), and visit a provincial park (76%).