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Three-quarters of people are 'worried about using public transport'

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EY-Seren’s Yvonne Kiely

EY-Seren’s Yvonne Kiely

EY-Seren’s Yvonne Kiely

A survey has found three out of four people are uncomfortable at the thought of travelling on public transport or partaking in other normal activities during the pandemic.

The study shone a spotlight on just how hard it could be for businesses to resume as the majority of people continue to fear the spread of Covid-19.

Of those surveyed, 78pc said they were uncomfortable at the thought of going to the cinema, while 76pc were anxious about returning to the gym.

Some 74pc were concerned about having a night out in a bar and 73pc expressed worry at boarding a bus or train.

Awareness

Yvonne Kiely, head of EY-Seren Ireland, the company which carried out the study, said: "It's clear from our research the general population's caution in relation to Covid-19 is being subconsciously applied to their thought process around communal spaces and social activities, with consumers carefully considering the trade-off between getting back to the new normal in being social and protecting themselves.

"People's heightened awareness has manifested itself in a widespread aversion to close proximity for longer duration activities, such as cinema visits, or where there is a chance of water droplet transmission in places such as gyms and public transport."

Some 70pc were uncomfortable with the idea of going to a restaurant, 68pc with trying clothes on in a clothing store, 65pc with going to a shopping mall, 61pc with going to a hairdresser and 37pc about going to the grocery store.

Around 28pc said they were extremely uncomfortable at the thought of going to a shopping mall, the highest score for those with severe fears. Some 24pc said they would be extremely uncomfortable going to a hairdresser.

Ms Kiely added: "While the majority of these establishments haven't yet had the opportunity to show us how they will navigate and prioritise our safety, we can expect to see them reopen and significantly adjust how they interact with consumers through innovative enablers like booking engines, cancellation clauses, temperature checks, contact tracing and the use of date to make the transition as easy and effortless as possible.

"We are seeing this already through innovations and the acceleration of concepts such as drive-in cinemas and video-enabled exercise classes.

"The good news for business operators is that what may have been previously unthinkable in terms of consumer responsiveness to change has been roundly challenged."