How COVID-19 is impacting Manitobans’ jobs, money, and hygiene

By | March 26, 2020

WINNIPEG — A new survey is showing the effect the COVID-19 pandemic is having on Manitobans’ jobs, money, and hygiene.

The report, out of Prairie Research Associates (PRA), conducted the survey between March 22 and 24 and spoke to 1,607 people.

According to the survey, one in three Manitobans are now working from home, while 46 per cent say their work has been impacted in some way by the pandemic, and 36 per cent are working less. Only 10 per cent of Manitobans said they’ve been working more hours since the start of the outbreak.

Of those who are working less, 16 per cent of Manitobans are working fewer hours due to the spread of COVID-19, 12 per cent aren’t working any hours and eight per cent have been laid off.

CTV News Winnipeg reported that a number of businesses and organizations in Manitoba have laid-off workers, including the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, McNally Robinson Booksellers and NFI.

CHANGING BEHAVIOURS

All throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials have been emphasizing the importance of physical distancing, handwashing and proper hygiene in order to stop the spread.

Through this survey, PRA determined 95 per cent of Manitobans say they are washing their hands, 90 per cent are physical distancing at home and avoiding physical contact with others, and 88 per cent are practicing proper etiquette when coughing or sneezing.

Nearly seven in 10 Manitobans are self-isolating and only leaving their homes for necessities, though just over 60 per cent admit to stocking up on food and other items.

In Manitoba, pharmacies have been asked to limit the amount of medication given out, with each person only receiving a 30-day supply.

HOW ARE MANITOBANS STAYING BUSY?

With so many people staying at home during the outbreak, 66 per cent of respondents said they are using the time to catch up on movies or TV shows, 64 per cent said they are reading books, 63 per cent reported they are using the time to go for walks or drives, and 53 per cent are connecting virtually with other people.

In terms of how long they expect social distancing to last, the results were nearly split down the middle: 43 per cent said less than two months and 48 per cent said more than two months. Three per cent believe it will last less than three weeks.

SUSPENDING SCHOOLS

On March 13, Manitoba’s education minister announced that all Kindergarten to Grade 12 would be suspended for three weeks beginning on March 23. 

Then on March 26, the chief provincial public health officer said it’s unlikely students will be returning after the three-week suspension.

The survey found that over 25 per cent of people with school-aged kids kept their kids out of school the full week before the suspension went into place, and 10 per cent said their children went to school for five full days. On average, survey respondents sent their kids to school for 1.9 days out of the five before the school suspension.

Nearly 90 per cent of Manitobans plan on teaching their kids at home while schools are closed.

HOW INFORMED ARE MANITOBANS?

When it comes to knowledge on coronavirus, half of Manitobans said they are very well-informed. Nearly 40 per cent said they are well-informed about the province’s plan to stop the spread, and 35 per cent are informed about the country’s plan.

The survey also found that older respondents were more likely to be informed.

ECONOMIC CONCERNS

PRA discovered that Manitobans are more concerned about the economic impacts of COVID-19 compared to health impacts.

More than 80 per cent reported being worried about the Canadian economy, with 55 per cent who are very worried. Around 60 per cent are worried about the virus’ economic impact on their household, including 31 per cent who are very worried.

In terms of actually catching the virus, more than 60 per cent of respondents are worried about their family or friends catching COVID-19, while only four in 10 are worried about getting it themselves.

PRA said this is a non-probability sample, so no error rate can be calculated, though a random population survey of this size would have an error rate of plus or minus 2.5 per cent. 

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