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10th July 2020

Over half of the British public think it’s too soon for businesses to re-open

New research reveals public lack of confidence in the relaxing of lockdown rules

  • While ‘Super Saturday’ saw millions flock to pubs and bars, just a quarter (26%) of the British public feel safe going back to pubs and bars and only 37% feel safe going back to restaurants and cafes
  • The 35-44 age group feels the most unsafe as Britain starts to re-open
  • Social distancing (62%), readily available gloves masks and hand sanitiser (42%), and temperature checks (38%) would make those who go to pubs/bars feel safer about returning
  • Urgent need for business to be transparent about new measures for customer and employee safety – more than 1 in 4 British people (26%) who go to restaurants/cafes said being able to access a list of daily safety procedures conducted by these places before visiting would make them feel safer

Thursday 9th July 2020 – New YouGov nationwide poll of more than 2,000 GB adults, commissioned by SafetyCulture – the world’s leading platform for workplace safety and efficiency – reveals that more than half of British people believe ‘Super Saturday’ came too soon.

Over half of British adults (54%) think that the re-opening happened too soon, and it is unsafe for businesses such as pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, cinemas and museums to open again. Just 6% of the UK public feel that the re-opening of businesses was too slow and should have happened earlier. 35-44-year olds are particularly concerned about restrictions being eased, with only just over one third (34%) feeling that it was safe for businesses to be allowed to re-open from the 4th July. Those aged 45-54 are most confident in businesses re-opening, with 43% believing it to be safe.

Public confidence levels differ by sector

The research found that businesses fare differently in terms of public confidence with just over a quarter of the British public feeling safe to go back to the pub (26%) and 37% feeling safe to go back to restaurants and cafes. With 2020 being the year for staycations, there is still some way to go to convince the people holiday accommodation is safe – just 40% of the British public say they feel safe staying in holiday accommodation such as a hotel, B&B or Airbnb.

Concerns about using gyms or other fitness centres also remain high, with 52% of people saying they wouldn’t feel safe going back to these currently. While these businesses have not yet been allowed to re-open under the latest government guidelines, it seems that the British public may be sticking to home work-outs even when they do.

However, the public are starting to feel more confident with returning to work, with 41% saying they would feel safe going back to their workplace. Yet, getting to work and travelling to socialise is still a challenge, as almost 6 in 10 people (59%) do not feel safe using public transport.

Businesses need to get safety measures right to help improve public confidence

Having effective social distancing protocols in place, which are monitored and enforced even at the expense of reduced capacity, is especially important for the British public. More than 3 in 5 people said this would make them feel better about going out for a drink at a pub or bar (62%) or dining out at restaurants and cafes (63%).

The British public also want to see gloves, masks, and hand sanitiser supplies readily available for free at pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes, with 43% of respondents saying this would make them feel better about visiting a café or restaurant with 42% saying the same for pubs and bars. Compulsory temperature checks would also help – 38% of people would prefer if this was introduced at pubs/bars and 37% saying the same for restaurants and cafes.

Having the right technology to manage safety and ensure compliance with the latest regulations and advice will also help improve public confidence. More than 1 in 4 British people (26%) said being able to access a list of daily safety procedures conducted by cafes and restaurants before visiting would make them feel safer. 31% would feel safer if they are able to see a list of recent cleaning activities.

Workplace safety and efficiency company SafetyCulture has developed iAuditor – a mobile-first app which integrates the latest government guidelines and industry standards on COVID-19, and provides simple checklists for employees. The checklists already cover the key measures that the UK public said would make them feel safer, including social distancing and temperature checks, and can also be adapted to suit individual businesses’ needs.

COVID-19-related checks on the rise

SafetyCulture is currently helping companies around the world get safely back to business, following lockdowns and restrictions as a result of the pandemic. Already, across the globe more than 75,000 people are using the iAuditor app to complete COVID-related checks.

  • SafetyCulture saw a 186% increase in COVID-19 inspections by UK businesses one week prior to the UK government mandating gatherings of less than 10 people on 23 March 2020.
  • The number of inspections being conducted using the app has continued to grow a further 11% week-on-week since.

The launch of this research follows SafetyCulture’s recent partnership with the British Beer & Pub Association, to support pubs as they re-open their premises. Completing a risk assessment will be essential for businesses to obtain Visit Britain’s new accreditation – known as ‘We’re Good to Go’ – and iAuditor is the BBPA-recomended technology to do this.

Dan Joyce, General Manager EMEA, SafetyCulture, says:

“As we move into the next phase of re-opening in Britain, the majority of the public are still unsure about returning to the iconic British pub, local restaurant, hairdressers or museums. Everywhere is high risk in a pandemic but everyone has the right to expect a safe experience so businesses must prioritise the safety of both their customers and employees right now.

“But safety and getting your business up and running can go hand-in-hand. As we have seen in other markets which have re-opened sooner, including Australia where SafetyCulture was born, safety has become a differentiator that will attract customers and talent to your business. Transparency around the safety measures businesses have put in place will help ensure both customers and employees feel confident about getting back to work and to socialise, which is crucial to get the British economy up and running again.”


Notes to Editors

If you would like any further information, to access the raw YouGov data, or to request an interview, please contact Ogilvy at:

About the survey

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2065 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st – 2nd July 2020.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

About SafetyCulture

SafetyCulture helps companies around the world to achieve safer and higher quality workplaces, with innovative audit technology. It’s flagship product – iAuditor – is a mobile inspection platform that simplifies the auditing process, making it easy for anyone to monitor and manage safety and quality from a mobile device. Already, more than 75,000 people worldwide are using iAuditor to complete daily COVID-19 inspections.