One in four young Britons taking less care about social distancing

Is the UK risking a second wave? A quarter of Britons admit they are being less strict about social distancing including more than 40 PER CENT of young people – as the High Street shows signs of slowly coming back to life in June

  • Some 26% said they were paying less attention to social distancing rules
  • Among those aged 18-24 it rose to 42% amid scenes of illicit street parties 
  • But high earners more likely than low earners to pay less attention to lockdown

Britons are taking a more lax attitude to social distancing as the number of coronavirus cases falls and the Government allows the lockdown to loosen, new figures reveal today.

More than a quarter the public (26 per cent) agreed they were now paying less attention to social distancing rules and other guidelines than they were at the beginning of the crisis. 

Young people and those on higher incomes were seemingly more likely to now take a lax attitude to adhering to the measures. 

Four in ten (42 per cent) of people aged 18 to 24 said they were now paying less attention to social distancing.

One in three (35 per cent) of people aged 25 to 34, and a similar proportion of Londoners, were taking a more relaxed approach to the rules. 

However, people over the age of 45 were much more cautious, with just 16 per cent of pensioners saying they are now paying less attention to the rules. 

High earners are more likely than low earners to agree they are paying less attention to lockdown than they were previously – 34 per cent to 22 per cent.  

The figures in a poll conducted by Populus for communications consultancy the Zinc Network, appear to quantify shocking scenes from across Britain last week, with police having to break up large illegal raves and other outdoor gatherings.

Louis Brooke, executive director at Zinc Network said: ‘These findings show a nation divided on age, income and regional lines on attitudes to the lockdown. 

A massive block party in Maida Vale took place last week as riot police battled hundreds of revellers with shields and truncheons while dodging missiles thrown at them

Other footage taken that night shows revellers dancing on top of a van during the rave in London 

‘Young people, those on higher incomes and those living in London say they are already paying significantly less attention to social distancing guidelines. 

‘The polling underlines the complexity of the challenge the Government faces as it continues to ease the lockdown at this critical stage in the pandemic.’

On the pace of lockdown easing, almost two thirds of high income respondents (57 per cent) said they believed it was ‘about right’ compared to 47 per cent of low income respondents. 

 The numbers also suggest there is a significant divide between the four Home Nations in terms of how comfortable people are about lifting lockdown with residents in England significantly more nervous than their counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

Some 42 per cent of English people said that lockdown was being eased too quickly, compared to 22 per cent in Northern Ireland, 14 per cent in Wales and six per cent in Scotland. 

Just 25 per cent of people rated the UK Government’s performance during the coronavirus crisis favourably. 

Meanwhile fresh data released by the Office for National Statistics showed a nation slowly coming out of hibertation as the lockdown eased.

The proportion of people working from home fell from 33 per cent to 29 per cent at the end of June as the number of people travelling to work increased from 44 per cent to 49 per cent. 

The latest Business Impact of Coronavirus Survey Survey (BICS) conducted between June 15-28 also showed the differing pace of retail revival.

Footfall in retail parks had increased to around 70 per cent of its level the same time last year on June 28. But footfall in shopping centres was just under 50 per cent and that in high streets was below 40 per cent of its level in the same period last year. 

The report noted: ‘On 15 June, many types of non-essential shops and businesses were allowed to reopen in England. This is reflected with a large upward movement in all three indices, with shopping centres seeing the greatest increase, footfall more than doubling from 14 June to 15 June.

‘Note that while footfall in high streets and shopping centres has followed a very similar pattern, the trend of retail parks is somewhat different. 

‘Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 16 March, retail parks saw their footfall drop roughly one week later than high streets and shopping centres. 

‘Their initial drop in footfall was somewhat less severe, and the recovery in footfall through April and May was greater, compared with the other two categories, reflecting that many essential stores are often at retail parks.’

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