A study shows many Albertans are still undecided about reopening the economy amid COVID-19. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Study: Albertans have mixed feelings about COVID-19 restrictions

Many Albertans are still on the fence about the pace of lifting COVID-19 restrictions and the path to recovery.

Stone-Olafson, a research consulting firm, has conducted a study about many elements of the Alberta economy, including sports, recreation, arts and culture, travel and hospitality, festivals and events related to COVID-19.

According to the study, which surveyed 1,348 Albertans between May 21 and June 2, 44 per cent of Albertans think the province is moving at the right speed in terms of reopening.

Twenty-nine per cent feel Alberta is moving too fast, while 27 per cent think opening should be happening faster.

Mathew Stone, co-founder of Stone Olafson, said that nearly 63 per cent of people are comfortable within their own social group and their own family, but only 26 per cent are more open to interacting with large groups in close proximity.

“The key to getting people into theatres, restaurants, gyms and other experience-based venues is having people comfortable with others,” Stone said Thursday in a press release.

In the return to normal life, people still aren’t sure exactly what the right approach should be, he said.

Just over 50 per cent said they would be fine wearing a mask if it meant returning to regular activities, even if 81 per cent of people agree that they value social connections and have missed them since the pandemic started.

Alberta had its first presumptive case of COVID-19 on March 5, and on March 13, gatherings of 250 people were banned.

Just two days later, schools across the province were closed, and a week after that, the first death due to COVID-19 took place in Edmonton. At that time, there were just 146 cases of COVID-19. As of June 25, there were close to 8,000.

The study hit on a number of key topics for Albertans, including 37 per cent who described their current feeling as worried in relation to the pandemic and the economic struggles in the province.

More than 70 per cent are tired of isolation and want life to return to normal, while 43 per cent of respondents believe the pandemic has been blown out of proportion.

The study is the first of its kind in Alberta and is the first of six surveys the company plans to conduct over the next year.



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