Esri Ireland, the market leader in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), today announces findings from a new nationwide survey which showed that during COVID-19 restrictions, 44% of adults in Ireland travelled outside the imposed 2km, 5km or 20km restricted travel radius for reasons other than essential journeys. Alongside this I myself have observed we seem to be forgetting there is a virus out there and mask wearing is also now becoming less visible and we need to take a long hard look at ourselves.
As further lockdown restrictions are mooted by government, the survey of more than 1,000 adults in Ireland – conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Esri Ireland – discovered that the top three non-essential reasons for people breaching local travel restrictions were to meet family members (17%); get more exercise (16%); and gain access to a wider choice of shops (14%).
In terms of overseas travel, the survey found that almost two-thirds (64%) of people in Ireland postponed or cancelled holidays abroad in 2020, with nearly a quarter (22%) opting for ‘staycations’ around the country in place of their original plans. It was also found that despite the impact of the coronavirus, respondents aged under 25 were twice as likely as those over 25 to still travel abroad in 2020 as planned.
Esri Ireland commissioned the independent research to better understand how people in Ireland are navigating the new realities of life during the pandemic. The survey highlighted new means of keeping up to date with COVID-19 developments, with 62% of the public using online mapping resources to view updates about COVID-19 and 93% of these finding maps a helpful way of staying informed about the virus.
Looking to future methods of managing and planning for other unexpected events or pandemics, the majority of respondents agree that geography and science will play an important role. 55% of respondents believe that geography and science lessons are more important following the outbreak of COVID-19. Having been removed as a core Junior Certificate subject in 2018, 59% believe that geography should be reinstated as a mandatory subject for Junior Certificate students.
Paul Synnott, managing director, Esri Ireland, said: “Our day-to-day lives have been dramatically impacted by the outbreak of coronavirus and this survey sheds some light on how the Irish public has collectively approached the imposed travel restrictions. Location, place and geography play a key role in terms of containing localised outbreaks, limiting the spread of the virus across borders and helping the public to understand and visualise these restrictions.
“It’s reassuring to see the majority of people recognise the importance of geography and science in modern education. Geographic knowledge empowers us to think critically, see the big picture and solve problems. Mapping and geography are essential for today’s policy-makers requiring detailed and accurate information to manage this crisis, but also for tomorrow’s leaders seeking to build a stronger public health policy and enact the changes that our world needs to address future challenges.”