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Most British Columbians open to more COVID-19 restrictions: survey

Last Updated Nov 7, 2020 at 11:55 am PST

A health-care worker takes people’s details as they wait to be tested for COVID-19 at a testing clinic in Montreal, Sunday, October 4, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

If the COVID-19 situation gets worse, most British Columbians support stricter measures, according to a survey

87 per cent of people like the recent order limiting household gatherings

85 per cent of British Columbians want to see masks become mandatory indoors

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Recent data shows most British Columbians support more COVID-19 restrictions as cases surge in the second wave of the pandemic.

A survey conducted by Insights West found the majority of people want to see safety measures brought back as well as stricter rules on masks.

“British Columbians are feeling at least the same amount of worry as they felt at the beginning of March, when the pandemic first hit, but they’re also in favour of stricter restrictions and lockdowns as things continue to get worse in our province,” says Steve Mossop, president of Insights West.

RELATED: B.C. breaks daily COVID-19 record for two straight days as second wave swells

The recent provincial health order limiting the number of household gatherings to those who live in the house plus their “safe six” is supported by 87 per cent of people.

While the provincial health officer has avoided implementing a mask mandate in B.C. and instead focused on encouraging people to wear them, about 85 per cent of respondents want face coverings to be mandatory indoors, including in schools.

“That’s one area where maybe the province got it a little bit wrong,” he says.

At least 80 per cent of people are in favour of area-specific lockdowns, Mossop adds.

RELATED: B.C.’s health minister stresses need to ‘seal the cracks’ COVID-19 exploits, as case counts soar

Health officials are able to increase the regional health order limiting gatherings in homes, though provincial health officials have said people in all areas should be following protocols because the virus isn’t limited by borders.

Returning to Phase 1 didn’t have as much support, but 61 per cent of British Columbians are in favour of stricter lockdowns if the situation gets worse.

According to the survey, people believe small retailers need more support from the province.

“There are some sectors that people feel sorry for them, one of them is small retail operators in B.C. where over half, so 53 per cent of us, feel that more should be done to support them financially from the provincial government,” he says, adding 43 per cent of people believe both restaurant and bars as well as and travel and tourism sectors need more support.

The case isn’t the same for gyms and fitness centers, he says, where 40 per cent of people think enough has been done to help.

“The emergence of the predicted phase 2 of the pandemic has everyone on edge and concerned in British Columbia,” says Mossop. “This high level of concern has once again translated into high levels of support for existing and possibly new government measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 in our province, including some draconian measures that would once again threaten the economic recovery in B.C.”

-With files from Amanda Wawryk