It appears a majority of Canadians are tired of COVID-19 enforced restrictions and want life to get back to normal.
According to a new poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute, 54 per cent of those surveyed say it’s time to remove public health measures and let Canadians manage their level of risk.
Angus Reid says this is an increase of 15 percentage points since the same question was posed to Canadians in early January.
The results come amidst reports that Omicron might have peaked in the country. Dr. Theresa Tam said that COVID case rates — the share of tests coming back positive — and wastewater surveillance are all pointing towards the spread of COVID-19 slowing nationally.
The stress on the health care system is significant, however, and it’s difficult to say if there will be additional impacts in cancelled surgeries or other hospital disruptions. More than 10,800 people with the virus are being treated in Canada’s hospitals each day, with over 1,200 patients in the ICU.
Residents polled in Quebec (59 per cent) and Saskatchewan (62 per cent) are the most in favour of getting rid of restrictions. Other regions, including Ontario, were more divided on the matter. At the same time, most of those surveyed in Atlantic Canada were against the idea of loosening public health measures (52 per cent disagreed).
“These sentiments are subject to some considerable division across the country,” Angus Reid says as part of its findings. “At least 34 per cent in every region disagree with this idea, but a majority in every region other than Atlantic Canada feel the time is now to open things up.”
Interestingly, the poll found that men between the ages of 35-54 were most in favour of removing restrictions (67 per cent in agreement), while 60 per cent of men aged 18-34 also believe it’s time to remove restrictions. A majority of women over 55 were the only age demographic that think restrictions should remain in place (51 per cent).
“A majority of each of the other gender and generation groupings agree that the time has come.”
Among the other findings, approximately one-in-five households (21 per cent) have had at least one case of COVID-19 since December 1, 2021, with a sizeable amount coming after the holidays.
Ontario’s restaurants, gyms and theatres will welcome patrons back today for the first timein nearly a month. It’s the first step in the province’s plan to gradually ease public health restrictions meant to curb the spread of COVID-19.