A majority of people in a survey carried out by the Economic and Social Research Institute believe the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions will be slow and gradual.

Only a minority of 28% believe life will return to normal by the end of this year. 

The survey was carried out the week before the Government's road map for lifting Covid-19 restrictions was published. 

However, the ESRI believes it provides a good benchmark for people's opinions and expectations on how life will evolve here during the pandemic.

The three restrictions that people considered would have the biggest impact on their lives if lifted were "interaction beyond their household", travelling over longer distances and the opening of non-essential shops and services. 

Around half of the people surveyed thought non-essential travel within Ireland would resume by the end of August or before.

Over 38% believed foreign travel would not resume until at least next year. The most popular response towards opening non-essential shops was the end of June. 

A clear majority agreed with the view that it would take longer than next year before life went back to normal, with no social distancing or cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.


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One of the most fascinating things about peoples' behaviour in this crisis has been that they are being remarkably selfless, Professor Pete Lunn, Head of Behavioural Research Unit, at the ESRI said.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sarah McInerney, Prof Lunn said their research has shown that people are prioritising things that matter to society generally, ahead of their own personal well-being.

"The vast majority are absorbing that they are in it for the long haul. They see the benefit coming by staying away from each other."

He said while on a personal level people would like to see pubs reopen, many believe that reopening of shops, getting people back to work, and the easing of some travel restrictions are matters that needed to be prioritised.

Prof Lunn said the majority of people believe that "normality will not return until 2021," and the level of clarity of communication by authorities has a direct impact on peoples' willingness to comply with restrictions.

"Throughout this crisis we have seen the benefit of having clarity of communication received. We only have to look at our nearest neighbour to see the effect of poor communication.

"It is absolutely vital that clarity of communication continues. Where communication is clear a large majority will keep complying. We have no reason to believe, based on the date we have, that people won't continue to comply", he said.

In relation to the possible re-imposition of restrictions, Prof Lunn said it is essential that communication is clear about why the restrictions are being reimposed.

"People need the justification.  Explaining why a behaviour is being asked of everyone is vital to keeping compliance levels up."