We want to be able to meet up with more people again

February 23rd 2021

31,000 people in the Great Corona Study said they prefer relaxations 

If it was up to the Belgians, the first relaxation would be the possibility of meeting up with more people. Going out for a drink outside is also a popular activity. This and much more emerges from an analysis of the 31st Great Corona Study. 

There were more than 31,000 of them last Tuesday, participants in the 31st wave of the Great Corona Study. That is about 10,000 more participants than two weeks ago. ‘Moreover, 10% of respondents said they filled in the questionnaire for the first time’, Koen Pepermans, social scientist at UAntwerp, says. ‘The corona crisis has been dragging on for almost a year now, but even now this questionnaire remains relevant to find out what Belgians think about the corona crisis and all its aspects.’  

The Great Corona Study, an initiative of UAntwerp, in cooperation with UHasselt, KU Leuven, ULB and supported by a financial boost from the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), has been presenting many questions to participants since the outbreak of the crisis, but each edition focuses on a few specific topics. This week, for example, there were some questions about possible relaxations.  

An initial analysis: 

  • Being able to meet up with more people (indoors or outdoors) is the first answer people give when asked which activity they would like to resume first. Each participant was allowed to choose up to five activities. The top 5, where the percentages represent the number of participants who put the activity in their top 5: 

        1. Have a drink outside at a bar or restaurant: 71% 

        2. Invite more than one person at home: 65% 

        3. Meet up outside with more than four people: 58% 

        4. Travelling and trips abroad: 40% 

        5. Being able to have dinner inside a restaurant: 39% 

​     But there’s a difference between wanting to do something and being able to do it. When asked what they expect to be able to do again most quickly, the participants answered, in descending order: 

  1. Doing competitive outdoor sports 
  2. Meeting up outside with more than four people ​
  3. Secondary schools fully opening 
  4. Shopping with several people 

            The majority of participants reckon that large family celebrations will not be possible in the short term

  • Remarkably, significantly more people shook hands or gave a kiss to someone outside their own family in the past two weeks. People had more physical interactions than during the holidays. Enjoying the beautiful weather together might be a possible explanation, but even then the basic rules remain of utmost importance.  

  • The willingness to get vaccinated remains high: 83% will probably or definitely get vaccinated. The most reliable sources of information about vaccines are general practitioners, pharmacists and scientific experts.  

  • We feel a little less good about ourselves compared to two weeks ago. This evolution is most apparent among students: many of them had a week off two weeks ago, now the second semester awaits them with – for the time being – still mainly online education.