A new poll by Leger in collaboration with The Canadian Press found that 45% of Canadians say they will “greet others with a handshake, hug or kiss” at Christmas parties and other holiday gatherings.
In Ontario, the number prepared to ditch social distancing over the winter vacation rose to 50%, compared to only 37% in B.C.
Among 18- to 34-year-olds, the proportion comfortable with hugging friends and relatives over the holidays rose to 52%.
Christian Bourque, Leger’s executive vice-president, said the finding suggested that Canadians may be becoming complacent about the risk of COVID-19 because they are vaccinated.
Forty-nine per cent of Canadians confessed they were not afraid of catching the virus.
“Canadians are showing indications that they are relaxing. Now that there is a fifth wave in Europe, Canadians are indicating that they are heading for a holiday season where they will take too many chances,” Bourque said.
He said he found the findings surprising because, while “taking chances is cultural in the U.S.,” Canadians tend to be more cautious. He said the bold attitude may be due to “COVID fatigue” or because many Canadians now think: “All of us are vaccinated in our house, what’s the problem?”
At the same time, 81% of Canadians asserted that they would respect all “remaining” safety measures during the holiday season.
The poll of 1,547 Canadians between Friday and Sunday cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered truly random samples.
Forty-seven per cent of Canadians say they would ask people if they are vaccinated before inviting them to a holiday party. And only 35% said they would invite someone who is not fully vaccinated into their home.
More than a third plan to celebrate with more friends and family, though not at pre-COVID-19 levels.
(Leger/The Canadian Press)