Nearly half of Canadians are socially distant at holiday parties: poll

A new poll shows that nearly half of Canadians plan to forgo social distancing during holiday gatherings and hug, kiss and shake hands with friends and family.


The poll, conducted by Leger in collaboration with The Canadian Press, found that 45% of Canadians said they would “greet someone with a handshake, hug or kiss” at Christmas parties and other occasions.

In Ontario, the number prepared to stay away from society during the winter break has increased to 50%, compared with just 37% in BC.

Among 18- to 34-year-olds, the odds of comfortably hugging friends and family around the holidays increased to 52%.

Christian Bourque, executive vice president of Leger, said the finding suggests Canadians may become complacent about their risk of contracting COVID-19 because they have been vaccinated.

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Forty-nine percent of Canadians confess that they are not afraid of catching the virus.

“Canadians are showing signs that they are relaxing. Now that there is a fifth wave in Europe, Canadians are showing that they are headed for a holiday where they will have too many opportunities,” Bourque said.

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He said he found the findings surprising because, while “taking advantage of opportunities is cultural in America,” Canadians tend to be more cautious. The bold attitude could be due to “COVID fatigue,” he said, or because many Canadians now think, “We’re all vaccinated in the house, what’s the problem?”

At the same time, 81% of Canadians confirmed that they would respect all “remaining” safety measures during the holiday.

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The poll of 1,547 Canadians between Friday and Sunday cannot be biased because internet-based polls are not considered truly random samples.

Forty-seven percent of Canadians say they would ask people if they’ve been vaccinated before inviting them to a holiday party.

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And only 35% said they would invite someone who was not fully vaccinated into their home.

More than a third plan to celebrate with more friends and family, though not on the pre-COVID-19 level.

Canadians continue to tighten their belts with 46% saying they don’t plan to spend more money during the holidays than they did last year. Only 7% said they were planning to spend “more”.

Less than a third of Canadians said they were planning to shop at the mall as before, with 42 per cent saying they would stick with shopping online.

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60% of Canadians would shop for the best price, and only 22% said they would be willing to spend “a little more” to support local retailers.

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The poll shows that Canadians are not flocking to sunny places during peak holiday periods, despite the adoption of vaccine passports.

Only 18% plan to board a plane to see friends and family on vacation and 9% plan to fly to a vacation destination.

Seventy-nine percent of Canadians are in favor of vaccines, while 21 percent of Canadians say they oppose them.

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While the federal government’s handling of COVID-19 has received cautious approval from the Canadian public, confidence in some provincial prime ministers remains weak.

In Alberta, just 33% of respondents said they were satisfied with the measures Prime Minister Jason Kenney has put in place to combat COVID-19, while in Saskatchewan, 37% were satisfied with the action plan Prime Minister Scott Moe’s anti-pandemic response.

This compares with the 77% of Quebec residents who think Prime Minister Francois Legault has done a good job fighting COVID-19.

63% of Canadians say they are satisfied with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government action to combat COVID-19.

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A third are not satisfied with the government’s handling of the crisis.

The poll found that only 51% of Canadians think the worst of the pandemic is over.

© 2021 Canadian Press Nearly half of Canadians are socially distant at holiday parties: poll

Aila Slisco

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