Nearly one in five people think we should not be allowed to leave our homes except for essential purposes, a survey suggests.
It was presented as “only allowing people to leave their homes for essential shopping, exercise and work” – essentially the same draconian limits to freedoms that Boris Johnson imposed when the three national lockdowns were at their strictest.
The survey was carried out on Thursday and Friday, a full four months after Johnson’s “stay at home” rule ended on 29 March and three-and-a-half months after the major lifting of restrictions on 12 April, which saw shops reopen as well as pubs for outdoor service.
Watch: Wednesday's politics briefing
Johnson subsequently lifted the lockdown completely on 19 July, marking the first time since March last year that people in England weren’t living under restrictions.
Even as the third wave of COVID-19 infections began to fall last week, 46% of respondents said the 19 July end date was too soon, compared to 33% who thought it was about right and 12% who said it was too late.
Overall, the poll of 1,516 adults also suggests a majority of English people want to bring back five major rules:
face masks on public transport (79% support to 15% opposition)
face masks in shops (76% to 18%)
social distancing in pubs and restaurants (65% to 28%)
the two-metre social distancing rule in general (55% to 36%)
closure of nightclubs (50% to 36%)
It comes after a leading behavioural psychologist claimed the public has constantly been ahead of the government in being aware of the dangers of the virus.
Prof Stephen Reicher, a member of the Independent Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (Spi-B), which advises the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told Sky News on Tuesday: “The public have always been behaving responsibly.
“The remarkable thing when you look at the data is that people have always been ahead of the government in being aware of the dangers.
“The problem, to some extent, is that the government is not matching the public with its own responsibilities.”
Watch: Vaccine in numbers