Young people more cautious about economy reopening

A survey from H+K also reveals that nearly half of respondents in four provinces believe 'business as usual' is happening too quickly.

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Contrary to conventional wisdom, younger people actually want to take a more measured approach to reopening the economy, according to the latest insights from Hill+Knowlton Strategies.

The public relation firm’s survey of 994 Canadians, taken between May 1 to 4, finds 43% of respondents aged 18-24 are saying their province are opening too quickly, compared with only 25% of those aged 65 plus. The sentiment of younger residents is much more cautious than that of the 35-44 set (31%) as well as those aged 45-54 (30%).

“This is particularly noteworthy given the widespread reports at the beginning of the pandemic in Canada of younger people being less compliant with physical distancing measures,” according to research author Elliott Gauthier, H+K’s senior VP of data and analytics. “It’s also noteworthy that only one in four seniors in Canada feel this way, despite being at a much higher risk statistically.”

Nationally, 56% of Canadians believe the pace and timing of their province’s re-opening is “just right,” a la Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and women are also advocating for a more calculated approach, with 36% saying their province was opening too quickly, compared to only 24% of men in Canada.

A large number of residents in four provinces, meanwhile, believe their economies are being opened prematurely: 46% of Albertans, Saskatchewanians and Manitobans believing the pace and timing of their province’s re-opening was done “too quickly,” or “much too quickly.” Quebec, the province most ravaged by COVID-19, with 47,411 cases, follows close behind at 44% of respondents saying the same.

By contrast, 70% of Atlantic Canadians and 72% of British Columbians, the regions least impacted by the pandemic, are the most sanguine among us, saying they believe the pace and timing of re-opening in their provinces were “just right.” Ontario comes in at 59% happy with the rate of reopening; however, this was before the province saw a spike in new COVID-19 cases. After a brief dip earlier this month, the province reported 404 new cases on Monday morning, the fifth day in a row where the number of new cases was above 400.