The latest polling conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies indicates that Italian respondents feel somewhat less safe in July than they did a month ago. In particular, we found that only half (50%) of Italians feel safe leaving their home at all compared to 56% back in June.
Our findings point to a clear division among the Italian public as 50% of respondents answered that they did not feel safe leaving their home. Those living in the South (55%) of Italy and the islands of Sardinia and Sicily (61%) felt especially unsafe when leaving their home, despite those regions having been relatively spared by the virus.
Indeed, the coronavirus has so far claimed the lives of more than 35,000 Italians, more than half of which were in the northern region of Lombardy.
Such fears understandably correlate with face mask adoption rates. We found that a majority (53%) of respondents stated that they always wear a mask to cover their mouth and nose when leaving their home. This result is relatively stable from our findings in June when 56% of respondents reported always wearing a mask when leaving their home. The variation between these two results is very close to the margin of error of this poll.
Interestingly, however, those living in southern Italy and on the islands – who reported more fears about leaving their home – were not among those reporting the highest mask adoption rate. Only 44% of those living in the South answered that they always wear a mask when leaving their home against 60% of those living in Central Italy.
These figures should be read keeping in mind the fact that it is compulsory in Italy to wear masks in shops, banks, churches and on public transport .
Moreover, Italians now feel slightly less safe than last month getting their hair cut at a barber or hair salon (60% felt safe in July against 62% in June) or visiting a friend’s house (54% felt safe in July against 55% in June). However, it should be kept in mind that these changes fall within the margin of error of this poll.
Respondents perceived some activities as more dangerous than others: For instance, a large majority (63%) of Italians do not feel safe greeting a friend with a handshake or going to the hospital for something unrelated to coronavirus (67%). Both activities are perceived as slightly more dangerous in July than in June, when 61% of respondents felt unsafe greeting friends with a handshake while 66% felt unsafe going to the hospital. Once again, this change falls within the margin of error of our poll.
Italian respondents feel particularly unsafe when taking public transportation, with 82% expressing concern. In June, by contrast, 76% of respondents did not feel safe when taking public transportation.
Despite these fears, we found that only 54% of respondents claim to always wear a mask when taking public transport, suggesting that a clear plurality of Italians are defying the country’s rules on masks.
The only activity Italian respondents felt safer doing in July than in June was eating at a restaurant or drinking at a bar outside. A majority (53%) of Italians felt safe doing so in July, against 49% in June. A smaller proportion felt safe eating at a restaurant or drinking at a bar inside (43%).
Overall, our research indicates that Italian respondents feel somewhat less safe now than they did a month ago with regards to the ongoing coronavirus crisis in their country.