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Over half of people believe individuals travelling from 'red' regions should not be allowed into Ireland

More than half of people also expect to take their next international flight before the end of 2021, according to new figures.

File photo of Dublin Airport.
File photo of Dublin Airport.
Image: Brian Lawless/PA Archive/PA Images

JUST OVER HALF of people (53.7%) believe that individuals travelling to Ireland from ‘red’ regions should not be allowed enter the country, according to research released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) today.

More than two in 10 respondents (22.9%) believe that passengers coming from ‘orange’ regions should not be allowed enter the country and one in 10 people (10.3%) believe that passengers coming from ‘green’ regions should not be allowed enter Ireland.

On 13 October, EU Member States adopted a coordinated approach to travel restrictions in the context of Covid-19.

This ‘traffic lights’ approach provides for regions across the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) (and the UK) to be categorised as green, orange, red or grey, on the basis of the risk levels associated with Covid-19.

Screenshot 2020-12-01 at 13.36.44 Source: Europa.eu

Since 29 November, passengers arriving in Ireland from red regions can have their restriction on movement lifted, if a Covid-19 test five days following arrival is negative.

One in six people surveyed (17.4%) agree with this approach. A similar percentage (17.8%) believe that passengers from red regions should restrict their movements for 14 days.

In line with EU recommendation, there are no entry restrictions on passengers travelling from green regions. Just under 11% of respondents agree with this approach, but a similar percentage (10.3%) believe that passengers from green regions should ‘not be allowed enter the country’.

Almost eight in 10 (78.9%) believe that passengers from green regions should be subject to some restrictions such as a pre or post-arrival negative Covid-19 test or movement restriction on arrival.

PR_600522_Social_Impact_of_COVID-19_Survey_November_2020_Infographic_1875x1095px_1875_x_1095 Source: CSO

The results released today are from the fourth round of the CSO’s Social Impact of Covid-19 Survey, for which 1,585 people were questioned online.

The topics covered in this publication also include worries survey respondents have in relation to celebrating Christmas, and expectations around international travel.

Other findings include the following:

  • Over half (53.9%) of respondents expect to take their next international flight before the end of 2021
  • Just under 12% are worried about being unable to afford Christmas presents
  • Almost half of respondents (46.2%) expect to spend less on Christmas this year
  • More than four in 10 (41.9%) are worried about household confinement over the Christmas period
  • One in five (21.1%) respondents said that they would be ‘very unlikely’ or ‘unlikely’ to comply with restrictions that would prevent them seeing family and friends over the Christmas period

International travel

More than one in two respondents (53.9%) expect to take their next international flight sometime before the end of 2021, while more than one in three (36.0%) expect that their next flight will be ‘sometime in 2022’ and 6.8% expect that it will be in ‘2023 or later’.

Expectations around the next flight differed depending on whether the respondent has a family member living abroad.

More than six in 10 people (63.0%) with an immediate family member living abroad expect to take their next international flight before the end of 2021, compared with more than four in 10 (43.5%) that do not have an immediate family member living abroad.

More than six in 10 men (62.4%) expect to take their next flight before the end of 2021, compared with less than half of women (45.1%).

Expectations around Christmas

In relation to expenditure on Christmas this year, almost nine in 10 (88.6%) respondents either reported that they expect to spend ‘less than last year’ (46.2%) or the ‘same as last year’ (42.4%). Less than one in 10 (9.4%) expect to spend ‘more than last year’.

Just under 12% of respondents are worried about being unable to afford Christmas presents. Respondents living in rented accommodation are more likely to be worried about the ‘inability to afford Christmas presents’ (23%) compared with respondents living in owner-occupied dwellings (8.4%).

This fourth round of the survey was carried out between Thursday 12 November and Wednesday 18 November, before the government announced that the country will move from Level 5 to Level 3 ‘with modifications’ restrictions.

When asked about their likelihood of complying with potential restrictions that would prevent them from seeing family and friends during Christmas, almost three in five (57.5%) respondents reported they were ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to comply fully.

Just over one in five (21.3%) said they were ‘unsure’, while a similar proportion (21.1%) said they were ‘very unlikely’ or ‘unlikely’ to comply fully with potential restrictions.

Almost two in three (65.3%) men reported that they would be ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to comply compared to one in two (50.0%) women.

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Older respondents were more likely to indicate that they would comply with such restrictions with more than eight in 10 (81.8%) aged 70 and over reporting they would be ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to comply compared to four in 10 (41.9%) respondents aged 18 to 34.

Almost three in four (74.5%) were worried about ‘not being able to mix with other households or see friends or family over the Christmas period’ and more than half (54.2%) were worried about ‘being unable to plan ahead, not knowing what restrictions will be in place’ during the Christmas period.

In relation to other worries about Christmas, men were more likely to be worried about ‘pubs and restaurants being closed over Christmas’ (25.3% compared with 15.2% of women), whereas women were more likely to be worried about ‘not being able to mix with other households or see friends or family’ (79.4% compared with 69.4% of men).

Women were also more worried about ‘household confinement over the Christmas period’ (45.2% compared with 38.6% of men).

Analysis by age shows that more than one in three (35.8%) respondents aged 70 and over and 31.6% aged 55 to 69 were worried about ‘churches, places of worship closed over the Christmas period’, compared to 14.2% of respondents aged 18 to 34.

One in four (25.5%) of respondents aged 18 to 34 were worried about ‘pubs and restaurants being closed over Christmas’, compared with one in nine (11.0%) respondents aged 70 and over.

Three in 10 (31.1%) of younger respondents (aged 18 to 34) were worried about the ‘inability to access shops to buy Christmas presents’, compared with two in 10 (19.8%) of older respondents (aged 70 and over).

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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