More people will respect rules for Christmas

December 3rd 2020

Almost none of the participants in the Big Corona Study say they will go on skiing holiday 

Two weeks ago, one in three participants of the Big Corona Study said they would celebrate Christmas with more than one extra person. But now that the government has laid down the rules for the holidays, more participants say they will follow these rules.  

The Big Corona Study, an initiative of the UAntwerp, in cooperation with UHasselt, KU Leuven, ULB and supported by a financial boost from the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), saw its 25th edition on Tuesday. Just under 23,000 Belgians took some time to fill in the questionnaire. ‘It remains impressive’, Prof. Pierre Van Damme says. ‘Eight months into the questionnaire, and its relevance remains high.’ 

Celebrating Christmas online 

Two weeks ago, one in three participants of the Big Corona Study said they wouldn’t celebrate Christmas in a restricted social circle. While it was still a possible scenario, the Consultative Committee laid down the rules: each household can invite one extra person to their celebrations, singles can invite two people. The guidelines seem effective, as more people, in all age groups, say they will follow the rules for Christmas

Young people say they are more likely to celebrate with people outside the family, so they follow the guidelines a little less. Celebrating in the evening remains the most popular way to spend Christmas, but a striking number of people will go for a walk or connect with family or friends online. A small percentage of people, especially older people, will unfortunately celebrate Christmas alone. Almost all of us will stay at home, as only 3% have holiday plans. Only 0.4% say they want to go skiing for the end-of-year period

Some other interesting observations: 

  • Willingness to get vaccinated remains similar to previous waves: 78% say they will definitely or probably get vaccinated. Remarkable: 21% of people who say they are not sure about getting vaccinated say they cannot find reliable information about vaccines. Reliable information can easily be found online through, for example, laatjevaccineren.be or gezondheidenwetenschap.be, but more work is still to be done here.  

  • The fact that 64% said they know someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two months proves that the virus has come very close to many people in the second wave. One in five also knows someone in their immediate environment (family, friends, close colleague) who has died from an infection.  

  • About one in three participants says they still exclusively work from home. This is still significantly higher than the 23% of people working from home at the beginning of October, before the stricter measures came into force.