LILLEY: Ontario residents divided over more COVID restrictions: Poll

Conducted Nov. 19-23, Maru surveyed 1,280 randomly selected adults on an online panel. An online poll of this size, if comparable, has a margin of error of 2.6%, 19 times out of 20.

Poll respondents were asked, in light of rising case counts, if or when the Ford government should bring back restrictions.

The results show a population divided with 32% saying restrictions should be imposed now; 21% saying they should come back when cases reach 1,000 per day; 20% saying when hospital capacity is strained; and 28% saying never, this is the new normal.

With these results, we could soon see a slight majority, 53%, calling for renewed restrictions when cases go over 1,000. Support for increasing public health measures is strongest in Toronto and eastern Ontario, as well as among older residents and women.

John Wright, executive vice-president at Maru, said the polling shows there isn’t a strong polarization one direction or the other.

“People are trying to get a sense of what the new normal is,” Wright said.

That new normal may very well be months more of the partial restrictions we have now — masking, vaccine passports and some gathering limits — without going back into what we escaped just months ago.

Ontario’s chief medical officer Kieran Moore has been adamant that he doesn’t want to see the province go back to the days of lockdowns or increased restrictions.

“Honestly, I do not see us stepping backwards,” Moore said this month. “If we have to, we’ll pause, but we won’t take a step backwards.”

So far, that’s what Moore has advised the province to do.

He hit the pause button on expanding capacity for events like weddings as well as the reopening of nightclubs, strip clubs and bathhouses. He left indoor dining, concerts, sporting events and other capacity limits intact.

A major difference between Ontario and those European countries imposing lockdown measures is the vaccination rate.

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