How are you feeling as lockdown restrictions lift?
I’ve been struck by how differently people respond to this question and the range of emotions expressed; some people feel jubilant and excited, others are cautiously optimistic whilst some describe feeling hesitant or anxious – there are no right or wrong responses. There is, however, benefit in seeking out perspectives broader than our own.
Each story is a timely reminder that we are all experiencing the pandemic in our own unique way. Some people have been affected to a greater extent than others and at this time comfort levels vary from person to person and situation to situation.
In our ‘Understanding the Impact of Covid-19’ report we described how people would be likely to return to activity at varying speeds and outlined the contributing barriers, such as worry, anxiety and financial difficulties.
Whilst participation in many of the activities which were restricted during the pandemic is increasing, a recent survey from Ipsos Mori highlighted that comfort levels remain mixed – with four in 10 people saying they would be comfortable visiting gyms, leisure centres or swimming pools.
There is a level of distrust about the behaviour of others as restrictions ease and those groups who are amongst the most worried, for example people with long-term health conditions, may continue to manage their own risk for longer.
In the short term at least, it’s likely that we will see people continue with behaviours we have become accustomed to during the pandemic such as social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing.
According to a YouGov survey, two thirds of people say they’ll continue to socially distance where possible and half will continue to wear a mask in shops.
As we navigate through the easing of restrictions, in addition to our Return to Play guidance, there are practical steps sport and physical activity providers can take to continue to support people to return and understand which measures to keep, and which to remove, to create an inclusive environment that works for everyone.
These steps are:
- What are you hearing? Make informed decisions by speaking to a variety of different people, ask them how they are feeling and listen to their views and preferences.
- What are you seeing? Gauge who is/isn’t returning, understand why and consider whether any additional measures, information or support would be beneficial.
We’ll shortly be releasing our most up-to-date insight findings which will take a deeper dive into return rates, attitudes, and behaviours and how people are feeling about physical activity and coronavirus as restrictions ease, which will be available here.