14 August 2020

The British population has been asked about the impacts that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had on their lives, and how they are coping as restrictions start to ease, with latest findings published in our weekly Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN).

This week almost 3 in 10 (28%) adults who left their homes said they had visited a café, pub or restaurant, an increase from 10% four weeks ago. We asked people how comfortable they felt when doing certain social activities as lockdown restrictions continue to ease. This week 4 in 10 (40%) said they would be comfortable or very comfortable to eat indoors at a restaurant, an increase from last week (37%) and the week before (34%). While 14% reported they would feel comfortable or very comfortable visiting an indoor swimming pool or water park (last week: 15%).

Almost all adults (96%) who left their homes wore a face covering at least once in the past seven days, the same proportion as last week and an increase from 84% the week before. It should be noted this estimate covers adults who have worn a face covering at least once, over the past seven days, and does not give an indication of how frequently people are wearing a face covering over the whole duration of the period. At the time of the survey it was mandatory to wear face coverings while shopping in Scotland and England, but not in Wales. The proportion of people who wore face coverings when shopping was much higher in Scotland and England (both 97%) than in Wales (67%) this week.

This week we also asked adults how likely or unlikely they were to travel abroad on holiday if they had to self-isolate at home for two weeks upon their return to the UK. Over 6 in 10 (62%) said they were very unlikely to travel abroad on holiday if they had to self-isolate. We also asked about how the possibility of having to self-isolate had affected people’s travel plans, with 1 in 5 (20%) adults reported that they had cancelled their travel plans abroad, due to rules around self-isolation when they would have returned from certain foreign countries, and 14% saying they had decided to holiday in the UK instead of travelling abroad this year.

We are tracking the impacts of lockdown on the shielding population specifically (England only). The latest data show that approximately two-thirds (68%) of clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) people who normally worked (prior to receiving shielding advice) are comfortable going back to work outside the home if protective measures are in place. But 6% of CEV people who normally worked are planning not to return to work in the next four months.

View our summaries of death and health, economic impacts or go to our main roundup page for the latest across all topics.

This page is a summary of insights from our most recent analysis and will be updated as new publications are released. Sign up to our email alerts for daily updates in your inbox.

This page was last updated at 09:30 on 14 August 2020.

14 August 2020

Going on holiday

A third of adults (33%) in the UK have said that their household would not be able to afford a week’s holiday this year.

They were asked about their holiday plans this year, amid the disruption in the tourism industry caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and 59% said they could afford a week away.

Just 10% of adults said they were likely or very likely to travel abroad with the knowledge that they would have to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to the UK. However, 62% said they were very unlikely to travel if this were the case.

People entering the UK are required to self-isolate for 14 days, unless they are travelling from an exempt country.

Adults said the requirement for self-isolation upon return from outside the UK had affected their travel plans, and 1 in 5 (20%) reported that they had cancelled their travel plans, and 14% said they’d decided to holiday in the UK instead of travelling abroad this year.

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5 August 2020

Shielding behaviours changing with updated guidance

The guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) people has changed in recent weeks. This is reflected in the responses to our Shielding Behavioural Survey.

Our latest survey was carried out between 9 and 16 July. It shows more CEV people are leaving their home and receiving visitors at their home.

Almost half (48%) of CEV people report not leaving their home at all or only leaving for exercise. This is lower than the 60% of people who said the same in the previous survey between 24 and 30 June.

The percentage of CEV people receiving no visitors at their home (other than for support for personal care) has decreased in each of the past three surveys. Between 28 May and 3 June, 87% of CEV people told us they had not received visitors at their home. This fell to 83% in the next survey (9 to 18 June), then 77% in the following one (24 to 30 June).

On 6 July, guidance for CEV people shielding changed to include forming a support bubble with another household. In our latest survey, 65% of CEV people reported receiving no visitors to their home (other than support for personal care).

Fifteen percent of CEV people live with someone under the age of 16 years. A fifth of those said living with children is impacting their ability to shield.

CEV shielding workers

Over a quarter (28%) of CEV people who were advised to shield were in employment before lockdown. Of that 28% of CEV people:

  • 11% continued to work outside their home

  • 37% now work from home

  • the remaining 52% were either furloughed, joined the self-employed income support scheme or stopped working

An estimated 38,000 (6%) CEV people who worked before lockdown said they would not return to work in the next four months. A fifth (21%) of CEV workers said they would continue to work from home for the next four months. That’s down from the 37% who said they are working at home now.

Almost one in four (23%) CEV workers said they didn’t know what their plans were for the coming four months.

There is some variation in how comfortable CEV people are with returning to work outside their homes.

More than two thirds (68%) of CEV workers said they were comfortable (44%) or completely comfortable (24%) with returning to work outside their home. However, their comfort level was dependent on protective measures being in place.

In comparison, 32% of CEV workers said they are not comfortable with returning to work outside their home.

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31 July 2020

Overseas travel and tourism dropped in March because of the coronavirus pandemic

Overseas residents made 7 million visits to the UK in Quarter 1 (January to March 2020), a 16% drop compared with the same period last year. This is attributed to a reduction in travel because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In January and February, there were more visits made from overseas to the UK than in the same period last year: visits in January increased by 7% to 3.0 million, while visits in February increased by 6% to 2.5 million. However, in March, the first month where travel was seriously affected by the coronavirus, overseas residents made 1.4 million visits to the UK, a 54% drop compared with March 2019.

UK residents made 13.9 million visits abroad in Quarter 1 2020, which was 24% fewer than in the same period in 2019. In March, UK residents made 3.2 million overseas trips, a drop of 50% compared with the same time last year.

Although March is the first month where travel was severely disrupted because of the coronavirus, trips abroad by UK residents in January and February were lower than in the same period last year, too. Overseas visits in January decreased by 12% to 5.4 million, while visits in February decreased by 6% to 5.2 million.

Note: Data collection on the International Passenger Survey was suspended on 16 March. This means that collection was incomplete, and results for March and Quarter 1 should therefore be treated with caution

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22 July 2020

Working parents and childcare commitments in lockdown

Parents have been fitting their work around their childcare commitments, because of the changes to their daily lives brought about by lockdown.

Analysis has shown that those who have been able to work under lockdown were more likely to do so during the morning and at night.

Those who worked from home gave developmental childcare, such as helping with homework, throughout the day but there were peaks of activity around noon, 4pm and 8pm. Those working away from home showed a peak of developmental childcare activity at around late afternoon.

Parents have changed their weekday working patterns because of childcare commitments

Percentage of group who were working at time of the day (weekdays only) in Great Britain, 2020

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The analysis also showed that during the first few weeks of lockdown (28 March to 26 April, 2020) women were carrying out two-thirds more of the childcare duties per day than men.

Women delivered 3 hours and 18 minutes while men contributed two hours.

This gender difference was mostly driven by the extra time women spent in carrying out non-developmental childcare such as washing, dressing and feeding children.

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22 July 2020


Between 7 May and 7 June 2020, the majority of parents (87%) said a child in their household had been homeschooled in the previous week because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

On average, children completed 13 hours of learning in the previous week. However, children completed fewer hours of schoolwork on average if they were living with a very young sibling (aged 0 to 4 years).

Overall, more than half (52%) of parents with a school-aged child in their household said they were struggling to continue their education while at home, with lack of motivation most commonly cited as a contributing factor.

Parents who had a child aged 0 to 4 years and one or more school-aged children were significantly more likely than those without young children to say that their eldest child was struggling because of caring or monitoring responsibilities for younger children (39% compared with 7%), or a lack of quiet space for studying (41% compared with 13%).

Meanwhile, older children aged 16 to 18 years – who are more likely to be able to learn on their own (without help from their parents) – were asked about homeschooling directly. Over half (53%) said they were struggling to continue their education while at home. Their most common reasons for struggling were the same as those given by parents: lack of motivation and lack of guidance and support.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of older children said they were concerned that their future life plans will be negatively affected by continuing their education at home.

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20 July 2020

Ageing tool

We have published a subnational ageing tool that allows you to compare the age profile of the population in different areas.

The tool also includes measures of older people living alone and the employment status of older people.

You can compare the measures across local authorities, regions and countries in the UK.

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13 July 2020

Multigenerational households

Older people have been shown to be particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Over 80% of deaths registered up to 26 June 2020 that mention COVID-19 on the death certificate in England and Wales relate to someone aged 70 years or over.

Most people in the UK aged 70 years or over either live alone (44%) or with just one other person (47%), the majority of whom are another adult aged 50 years or over.

However, a small proportion of the population in this age group live as part of a larger household with a mix of ages, and this is more common among people from certain ethnic groups.

People aged 70 years or over of Bangladeshi or Pakistani ethnicity are more likely to live with those from a range of ages compared with people of white ethnicity of the same age group.

Three-quarters of households containing someone aged 70 years or over whose ethnicity is White are either single-person households or only have people aged 70 years or over within them.

This compares with around a quarter of households that have at least one person aged 70 years or over whose ethnic group is Bangladeshi. Just over half of these households contain more than one generation living together with at least one person aged 0 to 19 years, one person aged 20 to 69 years and one person aged 70 years or over.

Older people living in households with younger adults and children may be more exposed to COVID-19, as these younger people go out to work or return to school.

There is some evidence that infection rates for COVID-19 are lower in two-person households than in larger households.

To understand more about people of different ages living together at a local level, explore our map showing people aged 70 years or over living in households with people aged under 60 years from the 2011 Census.

Households containing someone aged 70 years or over are more likely to contain a mix of ages living together if that person’s ethnicity is Bangladeshi or Pakistani

Proportion of households with at least one person aged 70 years or over by ethnic group of that person, by mix of ages in the household, UK, 2018

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Other age groupings are available to download.

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10 July 2020

Levels of caring for others have risen during lockdown

More people provided help or support to people they don’t live with in April 2020 (the first full month of lockdown), compared with 2017 to 2018. At the same time, levels of poor mental health have risen across both people who provide help or support outside their household and those who do not.

This is according to the Understanding Society Covid-19 Study, which looks at the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and lockdown on the UK population.

In April 2020, almost half (48%) of people in the UK said they provided help or support to someone outside their household. That’s over four times as many as during 2017 to 2018 (11%) (although the data are not directly comparable because the question asked on the two surveys was not exactly the same).

Of those providing help or support to someone outside their household, 32% were helping people who they didn’t help or support before lockdown.

Some of the people who are providing help or support are known as sandwich carers. They are helping, supporting or caring for older relatives as well as children. For sandwich carers who reported being employed through the pandemic, 17% reported working fewer hours due to childcare or informal caring responsibilities during lockdown.

The study also shows that reported levels of poor mental health have increased. This is the same whether people provide help or support for others outside their household or not.

The largest rise in levels of reported poor mental health was for women who provide help or support to people outside their household.

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6 July 2020

Map of over 70s living with younger people

More than 85% of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 19 June 2020 that mentioned the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the death certificate are for someone aged 70 years or over.

While people in this age group can socially distance to avoid infection, those who live in households with people who are of working age or children may face a greater challenge as parts of the UK emerge from lockdown at different paces.

This challenge to protect more vulnerable members of the households from COVID-19, such as those aged 70 years and older, may become more difficult as younger household members return to work and resume their studies.

Find out how many households in your local area contain people aged 70 years or older living with those aged 60 years or under

Percentage and number of households in a Lower layer Super Output Area (LSOA) where there is someone over 70 years living with someone aged 60 years or under, England and Wales

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3 July 2020

Postponed weddings

An estimated 73,600 weddings and same-sex civil partnership ceremonies may have been postponed in England during the three-month period of lockdown restrictions between 23 March and 3 July 2020.

From 4 July, weddings in England will be able to take place with a maximum of 30 people who must maintain social distancing measures, avoid singing unless behind a screen, avoid consuming food or drink and avoid playing instruments that must be blown into.

These figures are the four-year average of the number of weddings that took place between 23 March and 3 July 2014 to 2017, plus the number of same-sex civil partnerships between the same dates in 2015 to 2018. They do not include residents who got married abroad, same-sex couples who have converted their civil partnerships into marriages following the changes in law from 10th December 2014, or civil partnerships among opposite-sex couples which have been possible from 31 December 2019.

It is estimated that 73,400 marriages have been postponed along with 300 same-sex civil partnerships (numbers have been rounded to nearest hundred).

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3 July 2020

Mortgage approvals fall significantly in April

The number of mortgage approvals in April 2020 in England and Wales fell to 80% of those issued in February 2020. Mortgage approvals then continued to fall in May to a new series low, almost 90% below the February level.

In May, there were 9,300 approvals, around a third of the number issued during the financial crisis of 2008, and the lowest since records began in 1993.

The government issued guidance on 26 March 2020 to delay property moves and implement restrictions on property viewings.

This guidance, which has since been updated in England and Wales, appears to have had an impact on the numbers of property sales, most notably mortgage transactions.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published an article today bringing together a number of different housing market statistics from a range of producers. Most of the data sources suggest that there was little change in housing transactions up to March 2020, with a fall in April, coinciding with the first full month of the lockdown.

There are many more official statistics published across the UK on a range of housing topics, which are not included here. These can be found from individual government department or devolved administration websites, the GOV.UK statistics release calendar or the UK Housing and Planning Statistics Landscape.

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29 June 2020

Social impacts on young people

Among young people (aged 16 to 29 years) who were worried about the effect the coronavirus (COVID-19) was having on their lives, their main concerns were the effects on schools or universities and their well-being, work and household finances.

The social impacts of coronavirus on young people analysis covers the period between 3 April and 10 May 2020, when government advice across all three countries in Great Britain was to stay at home and only go out for specified reasons.

Young people were less likely to be very worried about the effect the coronavirus was having on their lives than the older age groups. They were also generally more optimistic about how long they expected the effect of the pandemic to last, as 55% reported they expect their lives to return to normal within six months.

Young people who reported that their well-being was being affected were much more likely to report being bored and lonely than other age groups. They were also more likely to say the lockdown was making their mental health worse.

The impact of the coronavirus on their relationships was also a greater concern for young people aged 16 to 29 years, many of whom were worried about their relationships with friends – which includes girlfriends and boyfriends.

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22 June 2020

Social impacts on older people

Among older people (aged 60 years and over) who were worried about the effect the coronavirus (COVID-19) was having on their lives, their main concerns were being unable to make plans in general, personal travel plans such as holidays, and their own well-being.

The social impacts of coronavirus on older people analysis covers the period between 3 April and 10 May 2020, when government advice across all three countries in Great Britain was to stay at home and only go out for specified reasons.

Of those who said their well-being had been affected by the coronavirus, 70% of older people said that this had been because of being worried about the future. People aged in their 60s were the least optimistic about how long it will take for life to return to normal, with a higher proportion saying it will take more than a year or that life will never return to normal.

Among those who were worried about the effect that the coronavirus was having on their lives, older people were more likely to have had difficulties accessing essentials, and less likely to have had their finances impacted, than younger people.

Staying in touch with family and friends remotely was the main way those aged 60 years and over said they were staying at home.

Older people were more likely than younger people to be coping by reading or gardening during lockdown

Percentage of population aged 16 years and over reporting selected activities that helped them cope while staying at home, by age group, Great Britain, 3 April to 10 May 2020

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Older people were also more likely to feel that the local community would help them. People aged in their 60s and 70s were more likely to have checked on neighbours who might need help three or more times, and they were equally as likely as those aged under 60 years to have gone shopping or done other tasks for neighbours at least one or two times.

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