40% of British Columbians want more COVID-19 restrictions: poll
VANCOUVER -- Restrictions to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in British Columbia don’t go far enough, according to nearly 40 per cent of people living in the province.
Roughly two in five — 38 per cent — of respondents in a poll released by the Angus Reid Institute this week say they want more restrictions rather than fewer.
Nearly half — 48 per cent — of respondents said restrictions have achieved an appropriate balance between individual freedom and communal safety. A minority of respondents, 14 per cent, said restrictions go too far.
Governments and health leaders in this country and beyond are walking a "wobbly tightrope" between safety and independence, according to data from the Angus Reid Institute.
The balance is somewhere between opening up and locking down, the institute says in a news release, setting guidelines on physical distancing, requiring masks or face coverings in certain locations, and limiting access to public spaces and how people gather at private establishments as well as their own homes.
Respondents in the Maritimes are the most satisfied with the decisions of public health officials. Fifty-nine per cent of respondents in Atlantic Canada say restrictions are appropriate, compared with 22 per cent in that region who say restrictions go too far.
B.C. residents, along with those in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, with respondents indicating they would welcome increased safety protocols and limitations to help curb the spread of COVID-19 infections.
In spite of early success and global praise for its pandemic response, B.C. has recorded an increase in the number of cases over the past month with several outbreaks linked to private parties and the social activity of young adults.
A quarter of Albertan respondents, the most from any region in the country, said restrictions in that province go too far.
In several regions, approval ratings for provincial leaders is high. British Columbian respondents give Premier John Horgan a 74 per cent approval rating on his response to COVID-19. This is the same as Ontario Premier Doug Ford and slightly behind Quebec Premier François Legault at 75 per cent.
Approval for the premiers of Alberta and Manitoba hovers just above 50 per cent.
"Some of this response may be attributable to recent case numbers," says the pollster in a news statement. "In both Alberta and Manitoba, cases have been rising in recent weeks, after consistently dropping through May and June."
On Wednesday and Thursday, B.C. recorded 85 and 78 new cases, respectively.
There are now 578 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and nearly 1,900 people are in self-isolation. This compares to July 1 when B.C. had recorded 159 active cases.
Health officials say new daily cases could climb as high as 100.
Canadian men, notably those under the age of 55, are most likely to say restrictions in their province go too far. Twenty-eight per cent of men aged 35 to 54 say restrictions go too far compared to 44 per cent in the same age category who say those same restrictions hit the right mark.
Canadian women across all age groups say quite the opposite, with 31 per cent of respondents saying restrictions could go even further, and a majority saying restrictions are appropriate as they are. Roughly 15 per cent of women across the country say restrictions go too far.
The data comes from online interviews with 1,511 Canadian adults between Aug. 5 and 8. Results are considered accurate within 2.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.