This is what Northumberland Gazette readers think about easing the lockdown

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We are now 50 days into the lockdown, and readers of the Northumberland Gazette have had their say on how and when restrictions should be eased.

Our lockdown survey, published across this title and 150 others across the UK last week, has had a great response.

It gives an insight into how the coronavirus crisis has impacted people in Northumberland and what they would like to see happen in the coming weeks and months.

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In total we asked readers 25 questions on their attitude towards the lockdown.

Northumberland Gazette readers have been having their say in our Lockdown Survey.Northumberland Gazette readers have been having their say in our Lockdown Survey.
Northumberland Gazette readers have been having their say in our Lockdown Survey. | JPIMedia

Of these questions five focused on how lockdown restrictions might be eased - and today we can reveal how people in Northumberland answered.

The majority of Northumberland readers who completed our survey said they felt very concerned about going to public places such as shops, bars, restaurants and cinemas once lockdown is eased.

40.9% felt 'very concerned', while 37.1% said they were slightly concerned. In contrast, only 11.9% said they were 'not very concerned' and 9.7% answered 'not at all'.

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In comparison, on a national level, 41% answered ‘slightly concerned’, 37% answered ‘very concerned’, 12% answered ‘not very concerned’ and 10% answered ‘not at all concerned’.

Some of the results from our Lockdown Survey.Some of the results from our Lockdown Survey.
Some of the results from our Lockdown Survey. | JPIMedia

Of those who took part in the survey, a majority of Northumberland Gazette readers said visits to friends and family should be given the highest level of priority when restrictions are eased. 64.5% of people made that a high priority.

Going outside more often was seen as a high priority by 43.5% of respondents, while 43% of those taking part felt reopening workplaces was a high priority.

42% said more mourners at funerals was also a high priority and 34.4% felt the same about reopening schools.

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By contrast, 22% said reopening local high street shops and restaurants was a high priority, while only 1.6% felt the resuming of professional sport and attendance at large public events, such as festivals and gigs, were a high priority when lockdown restrictions are eased.

We also asked people which of the following - garden centres, DIY stores, fast food restaurants, takeaway coffee chains and electrical stores - they would be most keen to visit if they were reopened in the near future, with social distancing measures in place.

Most respondents said they were keen to visit garden centres (47.3%), with electrical stores (5.4%) receiving the smallest number of votes.

When asked how well they thought the UK Government had handled the coronavirus crisis, 18.3% of Northumberland Gazette readers said ‘very well’, 28% said ‘quite well’, 23.66% said ‘not very well’, while 29% stated ‘not well at all’.

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The national average, by comparison, was 12% for ‘very well’, 34% for ‘quite well’, 24% for ‘not very well’ and 28% for ‘not at all well’.

When asked how clear the UK Government’s lockdown guidance had been so far, the majority of Northumberland Gazette readers who took part in the survey responded 'quite clear'.

32% gave that reply, while 29.5% said 'very clear', 23.6% thought it 'not very clear' and 14% deemed it 'not at all clear'.

The national average on this issue was: 30% said ‘very clear’, 35% said ‘quite clear’, 22% said ‘not very clear’ and 14% said ‘not at all clear’.

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During the course of this week we will be publishing more results of what local people had to say in our lockdown survey.

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this website, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you, and stay safe.