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Overwhelming majority support province's plan for restarting economy: poll

Last Updated May 8, 2020 at 1:33 pm PST

FILE - Health Minister Adrian Dix, Premier John Horgan, and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry discussing plan to reopen B.C.'s economy on May 6, 2020. (Courtesy Flickr:bcgovphotos)

The four-phase restart plan will see a number of sectors and services resume by mid-May

Rarely does polling find support above 70 per cent for any public initiative: Insights West

People are most supportive of health services reopening again

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Almost eight out of 10 British Columbians are behind the province’s plan for reopening the economy, according to a new poll.

The four-phase restart plan, announced earlier this week by Premier John Horgan, will see a number of sectors and services in the second part resume — with measures in place — by mid-May.

Those include non-elective surgeries, dentists, physiotherapists, retail stores, restaurants, cafes, hair salons, and barbers.

An Insights West poll finds 79 per cent of British Columbians support the province’s plan. Of those, 32 per cent strongly support the plan, while another 47 somewhat support it.

“We’ve been polling probably on 100 or 150 intiatives over eight years and, other than maybe the grizzly hunt, I don’t think I’ve ever seen support for an initiative so strong as this one,” said Steve Mossop, with Insights West.

“Rarely in polling do we find support above 70 per cent for any public initiative that is announced by a standing premier.”

People are most supportive (60 per cent) of health services reopening again, while allowing small gatherings and restaurants to reopen has the most opposition.

The strongest support is for re-starting elective surgeries—the majority (60%) find the plan acceptable, but this is also the area with the largest number (31%) who feel that it should have been allowed sooner.

Another 31 per cent felt elective surgeries should have been allowed sooner.

About half of those polled also think that later this month is too soon to allow small gatherings. Ten per cent believe the province is proceeding too slowly.

People are divided about hair salons re-opening, with 35 per cent indicating they should stay closed for longer, while 53 per cent support the current plan.

As for restaurants, 45 per cent think it’s too soon for them to reopen. The same per cent think now is acceptable for restaurants.

As for retail stores, 58 per cent support them reopening now, while 27 per cent prefer that be delayed.

The majority are comfortable in mid-May to:

  • visit a provincial park (76 per cent );
  • play outdoor sports (72);
  • use dentists/chiropractors/physiotherapists/in-person counselling (68);
  • visit retail stores (60);
  • attend social gatherings with a small group of family (59) or friends (56);
  • make trips within B..C (55);
  • or go back to work in their usual work environment (55).

In contrast, most B.C. residents do not feel comfortable:

  • making a trip to another Canadian province (74);
  • visiting indoor (72) or outdoor (53) tourist destinations;
  • eating in restaurants (65);
  • sending their children to school (61);
  • or playing indoor sports (53).