July 19, so-called ‘Freedom Day’ meant the remaining coronavirus restrictions were eased across England. All social distancing rules and groups of six no longer exist, but the government is still asking people to gradually increase social contact and meet outside when possible.

According to data on attitudes to Covid-19 safety measures analysed by life insurance broker Reassured, most Brits are still being very cautious about physical contact with anyone outside of their household.

Three-quarters of people still don’t want to hug, high-five or shake hands

Seventy-three per cent of people are still cautious about having contact with those they don’t live with or have bubbled with even though the new restrictions allow this to happen.

Data suggested that in the months of January and February people were the most concerned about contact with others. Across both of these months, 93 per cent of people wanted to avoid contact with those outside of their home. Although some Brits are still reluctant when it comes to having contact with others, we have seen that figure reduce by 20 per cent in the past five months.

Handwashing after returning home from a public place has also seen a gradual reduction over time, but 84 per cent of people are still regularly washing their hands as a Covid-19 safety measure. This is particularly true for women — in the last seven days, 65 per cent of women reported ‘always’ washing their hands after returning home from a public place, compared to 55 per cent of men.

Only a third of people are always socially distancing

Social Distancing has become less common in recent months, with the number of people doing it consistently reducing since February.

Throughout July, only a third of Brits have ‘always’ social distanced, compared with 44 per cent in June and 59 per cent in May. The analysis has shown that this number is expected to decline even further. People want a sense of normality back since being allowed to attend large events and gather with friends and family.

Phil Jeynes, Director of Corporate Sales at life insurance specialists Reassured, commented on the findings:

‘Our analysis shows that some aspects of Covid-19 safety measures may continue for several more weeks or months, with many choosing to carry on with these — particularly more regular handwashing.

‘We could also see face coverings continuing to be used after the official guidance was withdrawn, with the vast majority of Brits wearing a face mask in public places in the last seven days. However, as this has been a legal requirement, it is too early to say exactly how people will react to this rule change in the mid to long term.

‘In addition, with almost three quarters of Brits still avoiding physical contact when they leave the house, we are unlikely to see an immediate return to normal life, regardless of whether restrictions are in place or not’.