Almost nine in ten say they will respect the rules on New Year’s Eve

December 30th 2020

Participants of the Big Corona Study don’t have much hope for the spring holidays 

We shake hands or kiss a little more often, but at Christmas a vast majority of us respected the rules. And we’re going to do that again on New Year’s Eve, according to the Big Corona Study. For spring holidays in February, we don’t have much hope for relaxations. 

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 27th edition on Tuesday. Just under 27,500 people took the time to fill in the questionnaire. That is 6,000 more than two weeks ago; a nice increase. Remarkably, 6.5% of respondents indicated that they filled in the questionnaire for the first time. 

Some interesting findings: 

  • During the Christmas period, 74% of participants in the Big Corona Study respected the rules. Singles did slightly better at 78%. In the category of 18 to 35 year-olds, 57.8% complied with the measures. They also usually celebrated Christmas in the evening and with non-household members. 87% said they would follow the measures on New Year’s Eve.   

  • Just before Christmas, there was a lot of fuss about the fact that children still living at home were counted as cuddle buddies. That had been decided, but it did not always come across clearly in the communications. ‘In the end, it didn’t seem so bad in practice’, Koen Pepermans, social scientist at UAntwerp, says. ‘For 75% of respondents, it had no impact on their plans. 13% took it into account, 12% did not.’  

  • Remarkably, and probably also related to the holiday season, when people want to see their family and friends – preferably outside – more people say they have shaken hands with or kissed non-family members in the past two weeks. About one in three people between the ages of 18 and 35 did so, and a quarter of those between 36 and 65 did so.   

  • The Big Corona Study also polled people’s expectations for the coming weeks. They are quite moderate. More than 50% of participants think that not much will be possible during the spring holidays in February, except for practising team sports. Young people are generally slightly more optimistic than older age groups.