COVID-19 Perceptions and Perspectives from Manitobans
March 26, 2020
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COVID-19 and its effect on current employment
As a result of the current situation regarding COVID-19 and its global spread, 1 in 3 Manitobans report that they are now working from home (33%).
Forty-six percent of Manitobans say their employment has been affected in some way due to the COVID-19 outbreak, with about 36% working less. Of those reporting working less hours, 16% report working fewer hours as a result, 12% are not receiving any hours, and 8% were officially laid off. Those aged 18 to 29 are the most likely to report working less (46%). The vast majority (83%) of Manitobans working less than before (or not at all) say it was their employer’s decision, rather than their own. A small proportion of Manitobans report working more hours than before the outbreak (10%).
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 regular hand washing (95%), social distancing out of the home (90%), avoiding physical contact with others (90%), and practicing proper hygiene etiquette when coughing or sneezing (88%).
Almost 7 in 10 (69%) Manitobans report self-isolating and only leaving the home for necessities.
However, many Manitobans admit that they have been stocking up on food and other essentials (62%), suggesting that they are buying more than they normally would when at the store.
Activities Manitobans are keeping busy with
Manitobans will use their time while social distancing to catch up on movies or TV shows (66%), read books (64%), go outside for a walk or drive (63%), or connect virtually with others (53%).
More than half of Manitobans mention virtually connecting with family and friends (53%) more often than they typically do. This includes texting, emailing, phoning, video chatting, and video games.
How long Manitobans believe social distancing will last
When asked how long they expect steps to maximize social distancing to stay in effect, Manitobans are split, with many saying less than 2 months (43%) and many others saying 2 months or more (48%).
Only 3% believe social distancing steps will be needed for only 3 weeks or less.
Actions of parents with children in school
March 16 to 20, 2020 was the last week of school before primary and secondary schools were closed for three weeks. Most parents decided to take their children out of school sooner rather than later.
- Over 1 in 4 (27%) Manitobans with school-aged children kept their kids out of school for the full week of March 16 to 20, 2020. Those living in Winnipeg were more likely to keep their kids home all week than those in rural communities (35% vs. 17%).
- One in 10 (10%) reported their children attended school for the full 5 days.
- On average, Manitobans sent their kids to school for 1.9 days out of the 5.
About 89% of parents say they are planning on educating their kids at home during the school closures. Those with no post-secondary education of their own are less likely to report planning to do so.
Manitobans’ confidence in information
Manitobans were asked to rate how informed they feel about COVID-19 on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 means they are not at all informed and 10 means they are very well informed. Half of Manitoba (50%) feel they are very well informed (rated 9 or 10 out of 10) about the virus overall.
In terms of government response, 37% of Manitobans feel they are very well informed about Manitoba’s plan in response to COVID-19 and 35% feel as informed about Canada’s plan. About half (51%) say they were very informed about their employer’s response plan.
For each of these aspects, older respondents are more likely to feel well informed. Those 18 to 29 years old are much less likely than other age groups to feel the same.
Economic and personal concerns of Manitobans
Overall, Manitobans appear to be more concerned about the financial impact of COVID-19’s outbreak than its health impact.
- Over 8 in 10 are worried about the impact of COVID-19 on the Canadian economy, including 55% who are very worried.
- About 6 in 10 are worried about the economic impact of COVID-19 on their households, including 31% who are very worried.
While some Manitobans worry about contracting COVID-19 themselves, more are worried about family or friends getting the virus. Over 6 in 10 are worried about their family or friends catching COVID-19, including 30% who are very worried. Four in 10 are worried about getting the virus themselves, including 14% who are very worried.
Those who feel very informed about the coronavirus overall and those who do not feel informed at all about the provincial government’s response plan are those who show the most concern with contracting COVID-19.
Respondents aged 45 and older are more concerned about the impact on the Canadian economy than younger respondents.
PRA conducted the survey from March 22–24, 2020 using its Manitoba Panel. In total, 1,607 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 ± 2.5% (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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