Three-in-five Australians are excited about the prospect of dining out and catching up with larger groups of family and friends as coronavirus restrictions are stripped away.
But three-quarters of people are uncomfortable about attending large public events, according to new data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Monday.
The bureau’s latest coronavirus survey, conducted in late May when plans to ease restrictions kicked in, showed the vast majority of people were comfortable heading back to work.
Four-in-five parents were fine with sending their kids back to school or childcare.
But a majority of respondents were not keen to fly or catch public transport.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the CEDA (Committee for Economic Development of Australia) summit in Canberra on Monday there was still a mountain to climb as the global pandemic subsides.
He said Australians have shown incredible resilience in the face of both the health and economic crises.
“We have managed to do better than our fears and even our hopes,” he said.
Mr Morrison says the economic recovery ahead will be very hard.
A majority of respondents to the ABS survey said the development of a vaccine and lower daily infection rates would ease their concerns.
Fewer people were avoiding public spaces compared to early May, but most were continuing to keep their distance from people outside their households and avoiding social gatherings with people they did not live with.
ABS Program Manager for Household Surveys, Michelle Marquardt, said the survey found the “level of comfort” felt by Australians in returning to their usual activities varied considerably depending on the type of activity.
“The vast majority of working Australians, 86 per cent, were at least somewhat comfortable in resuming their usual attendance at the workplace and of those with children, 81 per cent were at least somewhat comfortable with sending their children back to school or childcare,” she said.
However, many people were uncomfortable about attending large public events (76 per cent) or indoor gatherings of over 100 people (66 per cent).
A majority of people were also uncomfortable with returning to flying or travelling by public transport (63 per cent and 59 per cent).
Among those who expressed concern about returning to activities, a majority said that the development of a vaccine (64 per cent) and lower daily infection rates (61 per cent) would ease their concerns.
“Although restrictions were gradually easing, social distancing was still being observed, with 95 per cent of Australians continuing to keep their distance from people outside their household and 79 per cent avoiding social gatherings with people who do not live with them.”
However, by the end of May fewer Australians (74 per cent) were avoiding public spaces compared to early May (85 per cent).
Nearly four in five adults (78 per cent) also reported that they either had or intend to have a flu vaccination this year with around 70 per cent of those people already having been vaccinated.