COVID-19 Perceptions and Perspectives from Manitobans (Early April 2020)
April 16, 2020
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COVID-19 and its effect on current employment
Compared to just three weeks ago, results from PRA’s last survey indicate a continued shift in employment in Manitoba, with increases in people working less (36% to 40%), working fewer hours (16% to 18%), or being laid off (8% to 10%). Manitobans 18 to 29 years old are the most likely to report working less (48%).
Among those working less, 78% say it was their employer’s decision, rather than their own. Of those eligible for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), more than half (53%) have applied or plan to apply into the CERB.
Since COVID-19, of those Manitobans still currently working 52% indicated that they always or mostly have been working from home, with a few (11%) reporting that they sometimes work from home, while 38% of those employed continue to go into their place of work. Sixty percent of working Manitobans are worried about their job security, with 11% who are very worried. On the positive side, 40% of Manitobans are not worried at all. Those 18 to 29 years old are most likely to be somewhat or very worried (43%) about job security.
Almost all Manitobans are taking the pandemic seriously
Just 2% of Manitoban’s report that they are not taking the pandemic seriously and that it is being blown out of proportion. Needless to say, Manitoban’s can feel at ease knowing that at least 9 in 10 Manitobans have reported that they that are taking the pandemic seriously, which includes 68% taking it very seriously.
COVID-19’s impact of added stress on Manitobans
About 60% of Manitobans report that COVID-19 has added somewhat more stress or much more stress to their life. This includes 13% who indicated an added stress level of 10 out of 10. Women (24%) are twice as likely to report being much more stressed as a result of COVID-19 when compared to men (12%). Manitobans between the ages of 30 to 44 (25%) are also most likely to report that the threat of COVID-19 has created much more additional stress.
Manitobans’ behaviour adjustments
When asked what preventative actions Manitobans are taking to help against the spread of COVID-19, the most common things people report are social distancing when out of the home (95%), regular washing of hands and surfaces (93%), avoiding physical contact with others (93%), and practicing proper hygiene etiquette when coughing or sneezing (89%). Almost three quarters (72%) of Manitobans report self-isolating and only leaving the home for necessities.
Even though the province has added new measures to protect public safety, the behaviours of Manitobans has not changed significantly. The most positive change in behaviour can be seen with Manitobans who are social distancing when outside of the home, up from 90% to 95% over the past three weeks. Conversely, many Manitobans appear to be stockpiling on essentials, up from 62% to 71%. This is suggesting that Manitobans continue to purchase more than they normally would when at the store which may lead to shortages.
Behaviour of Manitobans leaving the home
Overall, 87% of Manitobans say they have left their home at least once in the past week to visit a location where other people are present, such as groceries, pharmacy, etc. That means that 13% of Manitobans are completely self-isolating, that is, not leaving their homes at all.
How long Manitobans believe social distancing will last
Manitobans appear to be split about how long these social distancing measures will last, although the majority believe it will be two months or longer (68%). Just 1% believe it will last three weeks or less, that is, end around early May. This seems to be a significant shift from just 3 weeks ago, where 48% thought it would last two months or longer.
Small proportion of Manitobans are taking advantage of mortgage deferrals
Among Manitobans with a mortgage, 7% have already applied for the mortgage deferral, with another 8% planning to apply for the deferral.
Economic and personal concerns of Manitobans
Despite feelings that social distancing may last longer than expected, Manitobans’ concern does not seem to have changed dramatically, perhaps because many were already worried. For instance, 83% are worried about Canada’s economy, down slightly from 84% three weeks ago. Respondents aged 45 and older continue to remain more concerned about the impact on the Canadian economy than younger respondents. Of interest, slightly fewer are worried about their household’s economy, down from 58% to 54%.
Worry about catching COVID-19 or a friend or family member catching COVID-19 is up slightly, perhaps because of news of community spread of the virus has emerged over the past few weeks.
PRA conducted the survey from April 8–13, 2020 using its Manitoba Panel. In total, 1,929 Manitobans completed the survey.
Because this sample is a non-probability sample, no error rate can be calculated. A random population survey of this size would yield an error rate of ± 2.3% (19 times out of 20).
As any sample may not represent the population perfectly, PRA corrects statistically for discrepancies in gender, age, and income to ensure the sample corresponds as closely as possible to Statistics Canada information.
PRA Inc. sponsored these questions independently.
No other organization, public or private, funded this study in whole or in part.
For more information about the research, please contact Nicholas Borodenko, partner, at email@example.com
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On August 7, 2021, the provincial government announced that restrictions would be eased and provincial reopening would begin sooner than planned.