British Columbia

Almost 80% of British Columbians support reopening plans, poll finds

Insights West, which polled 747 B.C. residents after Premier John Horgan unveiled the plans Wednesday, found 79 per cent in support. But 41 per cent also said the reopening was happening too soon in some sectors.

Insights West survey finds some concern over pace of reopening, but residents mostly positive overall

Premier John Horgan unveiled plans to reopen the provincial economy this week. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

A large majority of British Columbians are giving a thumbs-up to the province's plans to ease restrictions and gradually reopen the economy, though some fear B.C. might be moving too fast, according to a new poll.

Insights West, which polled 747 B.C. residents after Premier John Horgan unveiled the plans Wednesday, found 79 per cent in support. But 41 per cent also said the reopening was happening too soon in some sectors.

Almost all of the people polled — 91 per cent — endorsed resuming elective surgeries, agreeing the timing was acceptable or should have been sooner. 

British Columbians are also supportive of reopening provincial parks (79 per cent), but more divided on plans to open salons (60 per cent in favour) and retail stores (66 per cent) and are about 50/50 on allowing small social gatherings and restaurants to reopen, the survey found.

People also seemed conflicted over whether in-person schooling should be re-introduced this school year.

Only five per cent of those polled "strongly oppose" the reopening plan overall.

Almost half of those asked believe the pace of reopening is just right, while only 10 per cent felt the plan should move faster.

Most of the 747 people polled about the B.C. premier's plan to reopen parts of the health-care system and economy gave their support. (Insights West)

Younger survey takers were slightly less supportive than their older counterparts, with 68 per cent of those aged 18-34 in favour of the reopening plan, compared to 84 per cent in the 55 or older group.

Steve Mossop, president of Insights West, said polls rarely return 70 per cent or higher support for any public initiative by a provincial premier.

"John Horgan can rest assured that the public is backing his plan — and if anything, he should continue to proceed ultra-cautiously, as B.C. residents are leaning toward a very conservative approach of 'returning to normal," Mossop said.

Results of the poll were based on an online study conducted May 6-7, 2020 among a sample of 747 B.C. residents. A comparable margin of error would be +/- 3.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at impact@cbc.ca. 

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