Pandemic leads to decline in shaking hands and hugging people we don’t live with

·2-min read
 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Britons are now less likely to shake hands and hug people they don’t live with due to lingering anti-virus behaviours adopted during the pandemic, a new poll has suggested.

Around six in 10 (62 per cent) people surveyed say they shake hands less now than they did before the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, as people opted to bump elbows instead to slow the spread of the virus.

The survey also found that more than half (54 per cent) say they have cut down on hugging people they don’t live with.

According to the survey on behaviours that changed following the pandemic, conducted by YouGov and the PA news agency, nearly three-quarters (71 per cent) of people say they use hand sanitiser more than they did prior to the public health emergency.

Meanwhile, around two-thirds (64 per cent) say they are more likely to stay socially distanced from people they do not live with.

Around half (51 per cent) say they now wipe down shopping trolleys or baskets in supermarkets more than they did before the pandemic, and more than a third (37 per cent) are more likely to meet people outdoors instead of inside.

The poll involving 1,652 people also asked Britons how they felt about the pandemic and what it will mean for the future.

A third (33 per cent) said they think the pandemic will never be effectively over in the UK, compared to just four per cent who think it is already effectively over.

It also revealed that pensioners feel less hopeful for the future compared to younger people, with 40 per cent of over-65-year-olds thinking the pandemic will never be over in the UK.

Among 18 to 24-year-olds, just 24 per cent of them say they think the pandemic will never end.

More than half of the British public is worried about the Omicron variant, the polling showed, and led to fewer Britons thinking their life has returned to how it was pre-pandemic.

At the start of December, a fifth of Britons (20 per cent) said they felt like life had returned to normal. However, the Omicron variant of Covid-19 that was first reported in South Africa on 24 November has since spread rapidly across the UK, leading to the reintroduction of some restrictions.

Now, only one in eight (12 per cent) of Britons say they think life has returned to normal.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting