toronto lockdown

This is how many people support the lockdown in Toronto

The City of Toronto entered its third week of government-mandated lockdown today, with the majority of non-essential businesses closed and residents asked to limit close contact with anyone outside their household — but new case numbers continue to skyrocket to alarming new heights. 

And while most people have been heeding public health advice and staying home as much as possible, some residents are still unapologetically flouting the rules by partying in storage units or repeatedly reopening their business for indoor dining.   

So to try and get a good grasp of just how much of Toronto's population agrees that a lockdown is an essential way to get the spread of COVID-19 under control, and to better understand the public's perceptions of the response to the virus in general, Toronto Public Health hired Ipsos to conduct surveys on how residents are managing the challenges of the pandemic.

The public research, which was conducted with a sample size of 1,201 residents between Oct. 20 and 30 (before the lockdown, when Toronto was still in Stage 2), found that 43 per cent of those surveyed strongly supported a second lockdown should the number of COVID-19 cases continue to increase.

Another 40 per cent said they somewhat supported it, 10 per cent said they were somewhat opposed and seven per cent said they strongly opposed a second lockdown. 

When asked whether they agreed with the statement that "strict public health measures, such as a lockdown do more harm than good," meanwhile, 16 per cent of respondents strongly agreed and 26 per cent said they somewhat agreed, while 58 per cent of those surveyed said they disagreed with this statement. 

Residents were also asked whether they think businesses should be able to operate as they choose, even if cases of COVID-19 increase in the community, and 39 per cent of people at least partially agreed with this notion while 61 per cent did not. 

Overall, 90 per cent of respondents either somewhat or strongly agreed with the idea that we need to take whatever measures are necessary to control the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the number of deaths. 

The survey also asked residents how their behaviours have changed over the course of the pandemic, and the results confirmed that the main activities most people in Toronto have continued to do throughout the past nine months include grocery shopping (99 per cent) and going walking or running in a public space (61 per cent). 

Fortunately, 97 per cent of respondents also said they always wear a mask in indoor public spaces, and 49 per cent of those same residents said they wear one while walking outdoors as well. 

The survey also asked people about the state of their mental health (29 per cent described theirs as poor/fair), pandemic fatigue (56 per cent said they're tired of taking precautions), whether they plan to get the vaccine (73 per cent said definitely or probably), and more. 

Toronto Public Health says the survey was administered online to a panel of volunteers, so the results may not be fully representative of the population of Toronto, and they warn that "opinions and behaviours may change as the pandemic and associated restrictions continue to evolve."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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