Most people in Surrey are still going out for meals and drinks less often than they were before the pandemic, despite restrictions being lifted.That’s according to a survey of SurreyLive readers to mark the two year anniversary of the first lockdown, asking how people’s social lives have changed in that time.
The results show that 59% of people are going out for a meal less often than they were beforethe pandemic, and 46% are going out less often for drinks at a pub or bar. Half of people (50%) said they go out for a meal once a month or less, and a further 18% said they never did, while 42% of people said they never go out for a drink, and 38% do so no more than once a month.
It comes as figures showone third of Surrey neighbourhoods have seen an increasein coronavirus cases in the last week. Lateral flow tests are also no longer free, and caninstead be bought at shops and pharmacies.
Meanwhile, 36% of people said they now stay closer to home for a night out compared to before the pandemic, although 51% of people are travelling a similar distance. Generally, these changes appear to be because people are still cautious about going to crowded places such as restaurants, bars, and venues, despite the lifting of restrictions.
Some 41% of people said they were not at all comfortable going to these places since restrictions ended. This is compared to 39% who said they were somewhat comfortable, and 20% who are very comfortable.
Many people’s priorities have also changed, with 49% of people saying that going out has become less important to them now than it was before the pandemic. One in five (21%) said it was of similar importance, and 30% said it has become more important.
Do you feel comfortable in crowded places even since restrictions have eased? Join the conversation with other Surrey readershere.
It’s not just meals, drinks and nights out that have been affected - 34% of people also said they are going to the cinema less (although 59% are going about the same amount), and 46% are going to attractions such as museums, galleries, theme parks and zoos less often (but 54% are visiting attractions as often as they were before). Gigs and theatre trips saw less of an impact, however, with 65% of people going to gigs the same amount as they did pre-pandemic (with 27% going to a gig less often), and 70% of people going to the theatre as often (compared to 26% going less).
Overall, the changes mean people tend to be spending less on their social lives than they were before the pandemic. More than half of people (51%) said they are now spending less than they were pre-Covid, compared to 43% who are spending the same amount, and 7% who are spending more.
It’s just as well, as many people have seen their incomes reduced over the last two years - 34% of people said their household income is now less than it was before the pandemic. That compared to 41% of people who said it had stayed the same, and a lucky 25% who said they had seen their household income increase.
Find out how you can get more news from SurreyLive straight to your inbox for freehere.