Canadians Hold Differing Views on Easing COVID-19 Restrictions

While most agree with the plans outlined by their province, few think certain services should be available this month.  

Vancouver, BC [May 6, 2020] – While most Canadians endorse the proposals of their respective provincial administrations to restart the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, significantly fewer believe that restaurants, barber shops or gyms should be open to the public in May, a new Research Co. poll has found.  

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 53% of Canadians agree with their provincial government’s plan to ease restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, while 39% disagree and 8% are undecided.  

There is a noteworthy disparity on this question, with only 6% of Canadians saying they “strongly agree” with their provincial administration’s proposals, and 21% saying they “strongly disagree” with it.  

In spite of the high level of support for current plans to ease restrictions, few Canadians are eager to see a quick return to particular activities.  

Only 28% of Canadians would allow coffee shops to open for dine-in service before the end of May. Similar proportions of Canadians would consent to allowing barber shops and salons to open (26%) and allowing restaurants to open for dine-in service (25%).  

“Many Canadians are not quite ready to partake in some of the activities that they abandoned as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic ,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “More than two thirds believe that it would be unwise to return to dine-in service at coffee shops and restaurants before the end of this month.”  

Only one-in-five Canadians believe movie theatres (20%) and gyms, fitness facilities and community centres (also 20%) should open before the end of May. Fewer residents (13%) would allow live sporting events in the next few weeks.  

Even as most residents of the country remain under lockdown, one third of Canadians (34%) observed aggressive behaviour among shoppers inside stores over the past month. One-in-five (20%) witnessed aggressive behaviour among drivers on the road and 9% among pedestrians on the street.  

Residents of British Columbia were more likely to witness aggressive behaviour inside stores (43%), while Ontarians were more likely to observe aggressive behaviour on the road (26%).  

When Canadians are asked to select four emotions they may have right now about the COVID-19 outbreak, 66% choose “sadness” while 64% pick “fear.” About a third (32%) feel “anger” and 27% say “angst.”  

Women are significantly more likely to feel “sadness” than men (74% to 58%), while men are more likely to experience “disgust” (22% to 17%) when thinking of the COVID-19 outbreak.


Results are based on an online study conducted from April 27 to April 29, 2020, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Find our full dataset here and download the press release here.
For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.