As life begins to inch towards a new normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a new poll suggests Manitobans are most nostalgic for day-to-day social activities like a chance to dine out with family and friends, or work out with others at the gym.
The poll, conducted by the Prairie Research Associates (PRA Inc.), asked Manitobans to indicate their most-missed activity from life before the crisis, and found that close to a third have missed dining at restaurants above everything else.
"We thought the idea that you get Skip, you get it delivered or what not fills that void, but when we thought about it more we realized people are saying it because it fills a social component," said PRA partner Nicholas Borodenko.
"They're not just saying 'I want to go out to eat,' they're saying 'I want to go out to eat and I want to talk with people.'"
Second to restaurants, 13 per cent of Manitobans reported longing most for the gym, while another 10 per cent said they missed attending concerts or live theatre.
Activities like going to the bar or casino came in last, with two per cent and one per cent of Manitobans saying it was their most missed activity, respectively.
According to PRA, younger Manitobans — between the ages of 18 and 29 — were more likely to report missing spaces like the gym and the bar than older Manitobans.
Sporting events also made the cut, with seven per cent of Manitobans listing it as the activity they miss most. PRA noted that men were more likely than women to report missing live sports.
When it comes to finances, approximately one in five Manitobans said they’ve been leaning on government assistance programs to navigate the pandemic in the last 30 days, and that percentage was higher among young people.
Nearly 40 per cent of Manitobans said they had been saving more money during the pandemic, while 27 per cent had been negatively financially affected, either dipping into savings or taking on debt in the last 30 days.
Overall, Manitobans are split on how they’re faring in general through the COVID-19 crisis. Just over half of respondents said they had been negatively impacted by the pandemic (53 per cent), while the remaining 47 per cent said they’ve had either a neutral (29 per cent) or overall positive experience (17 per cent).
"If you haven’t been financially hit by the pandemic, then there’s probably been — for some — benefits of either personal growth, or health, or being able to catch up on books and movies you've been putting off for months," said Borodenko, adding that the results may have been different had the survey been conducted before the province began its re-opening process.
"I think the neutral is people saying, 'I'm starting to see in some ways life is going back to normal,' where a month ago I guarantee you the people who were neutral probably would've said negative."
The survey was conducted from May 11 to May 14, using a panel of 1,640 respondents. Because it was a non-probability sample, no margin of error can be calculated.
Julia-Simone Rutgers is a general-assignment reporter.
Updated on Friday, May 22, 2020 at 12:45 PM CDT: Corrects business name.