People wear face masks as they walk through the Atwater Market in Montreal, Monday, May 24, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

People wear face masks as they walk through the Atwater Market in Montreal, Monday, May 24, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Survey shows 52% of Canadians feel anxious about return to ‘normal’ after COVID-19

The findings come as vaccines that protect against COVID-19 go into the arms of more Canadians

More than half of Canadians feel somewhat anxious about going back to the way life was before it was turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey shows.

Leger asked the question for a study done in collaboration with the Association for Canadian Studies.

Data shows 1,647 Canadians responded to a web survey from May 21 to 23, which cannot be assigned a margin of error because it was done online.

Respondents were asked whether returning to what life was like before the novel coronavirus was a source of anxiety for them, given how governments are announcing plans to reopen after more than a year of telling people to stay home.

The results show 52 per cent of those who responded reported feeling some level of anxiety, with those aged 18 to 24 showing the highest levels of unease at 68 per cent.

“Maybe some of it is related to work, maybe some of it is related to, ‘When we actually go back to normal, will it be safe? Will I feel comfortable around somebody not wearing a mask anymore?’” said Christian Bourque, executive vice-president of the polling and marketing research firm Leger.

For others, he said, it could come down to thinking like, “Oh God, I have to invite the in-laws again.”

“There’s something about this new life during the pandemic that people actually sort of grew into, and potentially, sort of, maybe like,” Bourque said.

The findings come as vaccines that protect against COVID-19 go into the arms of more Canadians, thanks to a steadier flow of federal shipments arriving than seen early in the year.

With more inoculations comes planning from provinces and federal advice about when daily activities, like playing sports outside and eating at a restaurant, can be allowed again, along with kids going back to the classroom.

Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan have each outlined plans to ease health restrictions through spring and summer in stages, according to how many people are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and federal officials are also fielding questions about how much longer the Canada-U. S. border will remain closed and what documentation Canadians might need to travel abroad, as well as vice versa for those entering the country.

Bourque suggested Leger’s research shows those in power would be wise to take a slower approach to reopening society, even as a post-COVID Canada seems to grow closer on the horizon.

“I would be extremely careful as to not sound over-joyous because that’s not the sentiment right now among Canadians.”

READ MORE: Half of all Canadians have had 1 COVID-19 shot; full reopening still months off

As for why young adults report feeling more anxious than other age groups about a return to normal, Bourque said it could be related to them being “the anxiety generation.”

Close to half of younger Canadians generally feel they suffer from some form of anxiety, he said, and so have more awareness of it and a greater willingness to name it than older residents.

Plus, for some in their 20s, their social life could be what makes them anxious.

“Potentially for younger Canadians who maybe have felt some form of isolation during the pandemic are probably weary about how will it be, how do I go back to the way things were,” said Bourque.

“‘I was not that popular before the pandemic, what will happen to me now?’ There might be a lot of that.”

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Just Posted

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow closed its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
South Okanagan’s only midwifery to re-open this summer

Willow Community Midwives was forced to close because of a shortage of midwives

This parking on the east side of Martin Street will be removed permanently Monday morning (June 21, 2021) to put in the Lake to Lake bike lane. (City of Penticton)
Parking removed permanently to make way for bike lane in downtown Penticton

Work begins Monday morning to replace parking spots with bike lane on Martin Street

Gord Portman getting ready for the Father’s Day dunk tank fundraiser for Discovery House. So far Portman has raised $3,000. (Facebook)
Penticton man takes the plunge for recovery house that helped save his life

Gord Portman said Discovery House and Pathways have been everything in his 1 year sobriety

(File photo)
Supreme Court Justice rules Bay has to pay Penticton’s Cherry Lane mall

The ruling found that there had been no unavoidable delay preventing the Bay from paying their rent

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Most Read