How Covid-19 has Changed Attitudes to Hygiene in the UK
Over half of Britons believe businesses could be doing more to improve the hygiene of their premises and keep people safe from Covid-19 according to a new survey.
Commissioned by hygiene and pest control technology company Pelsis Group, the survey of 2,007 people is believed to be the first to quantify how the pandemic has shifted the nation’s attitude towards hygiene.
The survey found that 88 per cent of people want to see UK businesses and organisations implementing stringent hygiene regimes on their premises, with 87 per cent saying the hygiene of places they visit is now more important to them than before the pandemic.
The survey also revealed that more than half of the UK (55 per cent) does not believe that hospitality venues will be safe and hygienic when they reopen and that 58 per cent of people do not believe schools are Covid-safe environments.
When it comes to public transport, the situation is of even greater concern to the UK public. 76 per cent of people do not believe it is a safe and hygienic way to travel. More than a quarter of over 55s (28 per cent) said they were unwilling to use public transport at all due to concerns over Covid-19, with a further 23 per cent admitting they would only use it as a last resort.
Speaking about the survey findings, Pelsis Group chief executive, Andrew Milner, said: “These findings are sure to set alarm bells ringing in businesses and organisations across the UK as they prepare for the easing of lockdown measures.
“The message from the public is clear, they believe businesses and organisations can do more to keep them safe from Covid-19 and want to see serious action taken to improve the hygiene and safety of premises they operate.
“While the UK vaccination programme is being rolled out, concerns about hygiene and safety aren’t simply going to go away. It’s by no means certain that the public will simply revert to behaving as they did before the pandemic once society begins to open up again.
“Businesses and organisations must build trust with the public and give them confidence to return to their premises. If they fail to do so, then the economic ramifications could be profound. Sectors that have been really badly hit by the pandemic, such as hospitality and transport, will find it incredibly difficult to recover if they can’t convince people they are running hygiene-secure settings that are safe to be in.”
Despite concerns over the hygiene and safety of premises, almost three quarters of people (74 per cent) said being able to check the hygiene protocols of premises online and actively see cleaning procedures taking place would make them more likely to visit them.
The survey also found that in certain parts of the country, significant numbers of people are avoiding going to GP practices, dental practices and hospitals. A fifth of people in Liverpool and Plymouth said they were avoiding these healthcare settings due to fears about hygiene and safety in these settings.
Meanwhile, a greater focus on the importance of hygiene is set to outlast the pandemic, with only seven per cent of people saying the hygiene of the premises they visit will become less important to them once the Covid-19 pandemic comes to an end.