Canadians have continued to participate in fewer social activities than they did over the summer, but social contacts did not improve in the second half of December, despite tighter government rules.
Today, INNOVATIVE is releasing results from our December Canada This Month survey tracking Canadians social behaviours over the course of the pandemic. INNOVATIVE asked Canadians about both their social contacts and their preventative COVID-19 behaviours and then grouped people together who had similar responses.
When we group people together, we find the average Canadian is being very careful in how they engage with the public. Half of all Canadians are either going out rarely with full precautions (41%) or just staying home (9%). Another third are going out more frequently but always taking precautions. However, 1 in 6 Canadians are either heading out several times a week with limited precautions (11%) or are very active with minimal to no pre-cautions (6%). Not surprisingly, younger men dominate these riskier groups
While the behaviour of the more risky groups is of great concern, there are also issues emerging among the more cautious groups.
First, on average Canadians are more likely to take moderate risks now than in the spring. The number who go to a grocery or pharmacy at least once a week has risen from a low of 77% in the initial Spring onset to 91% today. Those shopping in other stores has jumped from 54% in the Spring to 72% now. Finally, visiting with friends and family in homes increased from a low of 24% in the Spring to 44% now.
Second, we see mixed results in preventative behaviours. The good news is that the share of Canadians who say they always wear a mask when out of the house is up to 71%, the highest level in tracking. However, consistently keeping 2 meters apart has dropped form 72% in the spring to 58% now , although it remains below the high of 72% socially distancing all the time in April.