InQueensland

NEWS •⁠ POLITICS •⁠ BUSINESS •⁠ CULTURE

Get InQueensland in your inbox Subscribe

Australians say the new normal should be less of the same

News

Australians have said they don’t want their lives to return to normal when the coronavirus pandemic restrictions were lifted, according to a survey from the NAB.

Print article

But continuing to work from home was not something they were considering. People also feared spending less time with their families and more time commuting.

The results came as the State Government said there were no new cases of COVID-19 overnight and has five active cases across the state. Since the pandemic began, more than 250,000 tests have been done in Queensland, with 1065 people testing positive to COVID-19, including six people who subsequently died.

Restrictions on the number of people who can attend a funeral from tomorrow have been eased to 100, however names would have to be provided to allow for rapid contact tracing if there were any related COVID-19 cases. The Government still has a tentative date of July 10 for border restrictions to be eased, in line with stage three of Queensland’s road map.

The NAB survey of 2000 people showed Australians continued to express relatively high levels of concern over the pandemic, rating their overall level of concern at 6.7 (out of a possible 10 points) and women were now noticeably more concerned about the pandemic than men.

When asked to identify which aspects of their lives before the pandemic they did not wish to return to, the most commonly cited responses were “more environmental impacts/pollution”, and “the faster pace of life” – nominated by around 4 in 10 Australians as their top answers.

When asked to the rate the extent to which they agreed with the statement “I want my life to return to exactly how it was before the COVID-19 pandemic”, they scored on average only 6.5 points out of a possible 10 (where 10 is agree completely). No demographic group, irrespective of age, income, gender or location, wanted their lives to completely return to ‘normal’.

Men were somewhat keener to return to their previous lives than women and older Australians aged over 65 were significantly more so than any other age group.

When asked to identify which aspects of their lives before the pandemic they did not wish to return to, the most commonly cited responses were “more environmental impacts/pollution”, and “the faster pace of life” – nominated by around 4 in 10 Australians as their top answers.

There were less concerned about whether the health system could cope and Australians were now more relaxed about food supplies and essential services.

But there was increased concern about the travel and movement restrictions as well as business closures and there was a growing worry about the response to the pandemic from foreign governments as well as the impact on their investments.

“When confronted with a crisis like a pandemic, it’s all too easy to believe that everything will change. But, human behaviour does not change quickly. Many of the more sensationalist predictions are likely to be highly inaccurate,” NAB said.

“One of the more commonly espoused predictions is that post-COVID 19, many of us will fundamentally re-evaluate our lives and take advantage of new opportunities to work remotely, resulting in an exodus of Australians from big cities to regional areas in search of a tree, sea, or some other lifestyle change.

“Our research suggests very few are considering such a move.”

When asked about the likelihood of making a lifestyle change, on average Australians scored just 1.9 points out of a possible 10, but there will be adaptations and modifications to daily life, many of which may last well beyond the current crisis.

“Given coronavirus transmission mechanisms, it’s no surprise improved personal hygiene (e.g. washing hands) is expected to be the most lasting change. Of concern for the tourism industry, the second most frequently cited longer-term changes were taking overseas holidays and travelling by plane,” the NAB said.

Australians also planned to spend less time on public transport, in major, local and neighbourhood shopping centres and eating out at restaurants in the future.

Australians also indicated they would save more for emergencies and make more purchases online in the future. They now were also more likely to expect to work from home rather than go to work.

More News stories

Loading next article