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Outdoor activity increasing but close contacts not on the rise, says ESRI

A new study has found that outdoor activity is increasing but it is not leading to an increase in...
Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

11.48 24 Apr 2021


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Outdoor activity increasing bu...

Outdoor activity increasing but close contacts not on the rise, says ESRI

Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

11.48 24 Apr 2021


Share this article


A new study has found that outdoor activity is increasing but it is not leading to an increase in close contacts.

Research by the ESRI in the week between April 6th and April 13th found almost half of all people continue to avoid meeting anyone from outside their own household.

The lastest Social Activity Measure of 1,000 people also found people's level of worry about COVID-19 has been declining slowly since mid-February.

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The Government is due to sign off on a plan for how restrictions will be eased over May, June and July next week.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast with Susan Keogh, Dr Deirdre Robertson from the ESRI said most people are compliant with public health advice.

"We asked people about how compliant they are with the guidelines, and we a mean of around six of out seven people saying they're compliant," she said.

"You might say people are more likely to report they're compliant when they're not, but we also asked how compliant do you think other people are.

"We found people think that others are less compliant than them, but in the latest round of data we've collected, we've seen a slight increase in the extent to which people think others are being compliant, and then a slight increase in wellbeing as well in April.

"So we haven't seen a huge change in behaviour that we might have expected given that this data was collected after March 30th when the latest announcement was made."

Dublin parks Crowds of people relaxing in Merrion Park Dublin in the good sunny weather. Photo:Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

The ESRI has seen a slow but continually steady rise in activities that people have been taking part in since the institute began its research at the end of January.

This includes going to outdoor locations, visiting other people's homes and other social visits.

"We do find a small increase in the number of people who are visiting outdoor locations and a small increase to other homes, but it hasn't gone substantially up compared to what we were seeing in March," Dr Robertson said.

However, almost half of all people continued to meet no one from outside their own household, the survey found.

Worry

Additionally, the research found that worry over the virus has been decreasing, albeit not as steeply as it did between January and February.

"We find that people who are more worried are less likely to be out meeting more people and having close contacts, and people who think preventing the spread of the virus is more important than the burden of restrictions on them are less likely to be meeting people," she said.

Dr Robertson added that people's willingness to take the COVID-19 vaccine has increased slightly.

"It was around 77% of people when we first asked who said they were going to take the vaccine and it's now gone up to around 80%, and that's in spite of some stories that people might find concerning

"It's always been high and it's still at that high threshold of people who intend to take it."

Main image: Two girls sitting on a park bench at Stephen's Green in Dublin. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

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