NISRA Coronavirus (COVID-19) Opinion Survey Phases 1 to 4 Results

Date published: 21 October 2020

The third set of results from the NISRA Coronavirus (COVID-19) survey were published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency. These results are based on 3,405 interviews with members of the public carried out in the period 21 April to 17 September 2020.

Key findings

  • The survey found just over seven out of ten people (71%) said that they were very worried or somewhat worried about the effect the Coronavirus (COVID-19) was having on their lives.
  • However, these levels of worry appear to be decreasing over time. In April and May, more than three quarters of people interviewed (76% and 77% respectively) said that they were worried about the effect the Coronavirus (COVID-19) was having on their lives. This was significantly higher than the period from June onwards, when this proportion decreased and was in the range 68%-69%.
  • Over one in ten people (13%) interviewed from July onwards, said they had borrowed more money or used more credit cards than usual since the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, whilst the majority of people (87%) had not.
  • The vast majority of people (93%) reported, staying always or often, at least two metres away from other people when outside their home.
  • Approximately, half of people (52%) thought that some aspect of their lifestyle had changed for the better since the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, whilst just under half (48%) did not.
  • Approximately, six in ten of these people said they were keeping in touch more with family and friends (62%), spending more quality time with the people they live with (62%) or they had a slower pace of life (59%).
  • Over half of people (56%) said that they had enough information about Government plans for the easing of restrictions due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, whilst just over two-fifths (44%) felt they did not.
  • Two thirds of people (66%) supported the easing of stay-at-home measures put in place in Northern Ireland, but almost one in five people (19%) did not.
  • The results show that the wearing of face coverings outside of homes increased significantly over the pandemic period.  Over a quarter of people (28%) interviewed in June, said they had used a face covering outside their home to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This proportion increased to 84% during the month of August 2020.


Each chart in the report is also supported by an excel spreadsheet which provides confidence intervals for each estimate. Additional tables for other variables asked in Phases 1-4 have been also been published in this release, where validated data is of a sufficient quality to release. A visual representation of these findings can also be found on the NISRA Coronavirus (COVID-19) Opinion Survey webpage.

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