People wear face masks as they walk through the Atwater Market in Montreal, Monday, May 24, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Survey shows 52% of Canadians feel anxious about return to ‘normal’ after COVID-19

Survey shows 52% of Canadians feel anxious about return to ‘normal’ after COVID-19

OTTAWA — More than half of Canadians feel somewhat anxious about going back to the way life was before it was turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey shows.

Leger asked the question for a study done in collaboration with the Association for Canadian Studies.

Data shows 1,647 Canadians responded to a web survey from May 21 to 23, which cannot be assigned a margin of error because it was done online.

Respondents were asked whether returning to what life was like before the novel coronavirus was a source of anxiety for them, given how governments are announcing plans to reopen after more than a year of telling people to stay home.

The results show 52 per cent of those who responded reported feeling some level of anxiety, with those aged 18 to 24 showing the highest levels of unease at 68 per cent.

“Maybe some of it is related to work, maybe some of it is related to, ‘When we actually go back to normal, will it be safe? Will I feel comfortable around somebody not wearing a mask anymore?’” said Christian Bourque, executive vice-president of the polling and marketing research firm Leger.

For others, he said, it could come down to thinking like, “Oh God, I have to invite the in-laws again.”

“There’s something about this new life during the pandemic that people actually sort of grew into, and potentially, sort of, maybe like,” Bourque said.

The findings come as vaccines that protect against COVID-19 go into the arms of more Canadians, thanks to a steadier flow of federal shipments arriving than seen early in the year.

With more inoculations comes planning from provinces and federal advice about when daily activities, like playing sports outside and eating at a restaurant, can be allowed again, along with kids going back to the classroom.

Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan have each outlined plans to ease health restrictions through spring and summer in stages, according to how many people are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and federal officials are also fielding questions about how much longer the Canada-U. S. border will remain closed and what documentation Canadians might need to travel abroad, as well as vice versa for those entering the country.

Bourque suggested Leger’s research shows those in power would be wise to take a slower approach to reopening society, even as a post-COVID Canada seems to grow closer on the horizon.

“I would be extremely careful as to not sound over-joyous because that’s not the sentiment right now among Canadians.”

As for why young adults report feeling more anxious than other age groups about a return to normal, Bourque said it could be related to them being “the anxiety generation.”

Close to half of younger Canadians generally feel they suffer from some form of anxiety, he said, and so have more awareness of it and a greater willingness to name it than older residents.

Plus, for some in their 20s, their social life could be what makes them anxious.

“Potentially for younger Canadians who maybe have felt some form of isolation during the pandemic are probably weary about how will it be, how do I go back to the way things were,” said Bourque.

“‘I was not that popular before the pandemic, what will happen to me now?’ There might be a lot of that.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2021.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

Just Posted

CMHA
Mental health support centre in central Alberta to receive funding

Shoppers Drug Mart is lending support to the Canadian Mental Health Association.… Continue reading

Downtown Red Deer was packed with people who lined the streets to watch the Westerner Days parade on Wednesday. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Westerner Days parade cancelled, full details on modified event coming June 28

The 2021 edition of Westerner Days will look much different than any… Continue reading

City council wants to hear from the public at a May 25 hearing about whether the temporary homeless shelter should be allowed to remain in the downtown for another year. (Advocate file photo).
City of Red Deer staff to recommend another extension to allow operations at current temporary shelter site

Following some more research city administration has received no other new locations… Continue reading

A scene from the short Western ‘Cheaters, Robbers and Outlaws,’ written and directed by Jason Steele, with support from Telus Storyhive. (Contributed image)
Red Deerians make ‘Cheaters, Robbers and Outlaws’ short Western film

Writer and director Jason Steele received a $20,000 Storyhive grant from Telus

Residents in several neighbourhoods reported little to no water pressure Tuesday night. (File photo by Advocate staff)
City hall to reopen for payments and customer service

Red Deer City Hall will reopen on June 21 for utility and… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: You can’t trust Mondays

Monday isn’t my favourite day. It insists on occurring right after a… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price stops Vegas Golden Knights' William Karlsson as he is covered by Canadiens' Joel Edmundson during first period of Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup semifinal Friday, June 18, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Andreson’s timely scoring, Price’s goaltending give Habs 2-1 series lead over Vegas

Canadiens 3 Golden Knights 2 (OT) (Montreal leads series 2-1) MONTREAL —… Continue reading

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) is defended by Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) as he looks for an opening during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal series Friday, June 18, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Curry, Harris help 76ers stay alive, hold off Hawks 104-99

76ers 104 Hawks 99 (Series tied 3-3) ATLANTA — Seth Curry hit… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise of a two-dose fall is… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, speaks during a press conference in Ottawa, Thursday, May 13, 2021. Mendicino has announced a new policy to help settle 500 refugees and their families in a news conference today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year: Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced plans to expedite applications and increase the… Continue reading

Louis Oosthuizen, of South Africa, plays his shot from the third tee during the second round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Friday, June 18, 2021, at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Bland leads at Torrey and shows the US Open is truly open

SAN DIEGO — The U.S. Open prides itself on being the most… Continue reading

The Prime Minister's car waits outside the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg Tuesday, May 19, 2009. The head of the Public Health Agency of Canada is showing no sign he'll release unredacted documents about the firing of two scientists at Canada's highest security laboratory — despite the prospect of being publicly shamed in the House of Commons for his refusal to turn them over. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
PHAC head maintains he’s bound by law not to release docs on fired scientists

OTTAWA — The head of the Public Health Agency of Canada is… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant in Canada

OTTAWA — The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly… Continue reading

Most Read