Survey finds Canadians wary of returning to nightlife activities

By Michael Boriero – Local ­Journalism Initiative Reporter

Canadians believe public indoor and outdoor gatherings should continue to uphold a 50-person maximum, but the majority of men and women are uncomfortable going to bars, lounges and night clubs, according to the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS).
The ACS, a non-profit that aims to increase Canadians’ knowledge of their country, released a survey yesterday that reached out to 1,524 Canadians and 1,004 Americans 18 years of age or older.
“I think the thing that stands out most is the view on gatherings and the size of gatherings because there’s been provincial guidance around the maximum number of people that can be in attendance at a particular venue,” said ACS President Jack Jedwab.
The comfort level for outdoor gatherings remains at about 50 people on a national scale, he explained in a phone interview. However, sentiments could change if there is a significant reduction in cases.
Jedwab said the deconfinement process on the issue of gathering is a key issue for provincial governments, as they want to be cautious not to shock Canadians. The data shows that Canadians are split when it comes to indoor gathering sizes.
“The benchmark still seems to be somewhere around the 50 mark even though there’s a high percentage that would like to keep it at 10 in Canada,” he said.
According to the survey, 37 per cent of Canadians feel comfortable with a maximum of 50 people indoors, but 36 per cent believe that it should be reduced to 10 people. Meanwhile, a small percentage thinks it should be lifted to 200 people.
The survey, which was held from July 17 to 19, also determined that the majority of the population doesn’t feel comfortable going to bars, lounges, nightclubs, and pubs – 69 per cent of which are between the ages of 18 and 34.
“It was the object of some scrutiny last week because it was perceived that a spike in cases was a function of young people going out to bars,” said Jedwab, adding that the idea of going to bar is highly stigmatized right now.
Quebecers also stood out as ardently opposed to going to out to bars and nightclubs with 52 per cent of respondents feeling uncomfortable with the notion. The Atlantic regions, as well as Manitoba and Saskatchewan felt the most comfortable.
Additionally, an overwhelming majority of Canadians feel uncomfortable with the idea of reopening the U.S. border. And the thought of throwing a pool party this summer also divided Canadians with 41 per cent comfortable and 43 per cent not comfortable.
Gathering sizes are important for all kinds of activities, especially in the summer months, explained Jedwab, whether it’s meetings, conferences, weddings, or parties. The survey data is meant to inform policy makers as they continue loosening restrictions.
“I think this helps just to give them a better sense across the province and nationally in terms of what the levels of comfort are for Canadians relative to gathering sizes,” he said.

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