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Are consumers ready to return to pubs and restaurants?

B&A launches new research which explores whether consumers feel safe enough to return to non-essential businesses.

Fourteen weeks ago, clothing stores, restaurants and pubs began closing their doors. Thankfully, we have now reached a point where reopening the country is in full swing. Last week saw shopping centres back in business, while on the 29th June, all going well, restaurants, cafés and some pubs will be welcoming people back with open arms – from a 2 (or possibly 1) meter distance.

But what do consumers think? Are they ready to return? Do they feel it is safe enough to do so?

B&A recently conducted a nationally representative online survey of 2,833 adults to decipher just that. The survey focussed on a wide range of activities and events, evaluating which of them Irish adults were most looking forward to, and when they would feel comfortable enough to return to them.

The study found that social activities and shopping ranked highest in terms of what people are looking forward to:

When we look at the timeline of when people will feel safe enough to return to these activities, views differ greatly. In fact 3 key themes emerge:

Men are more comfortable returning than women: Women appear to be more cautious than men when it comes to returning to non-essential businesses. For example, 37% of women would feel comfortable enough to return to a restaurant by the 29th June in comparison with 47% of men.

Gen Z are more comfortable returning than older generations: The youngest generation interviewed (aged 16-23) over-index on feeling safe enough to return to most activities by the 29th June. Particularly so in relation to having drinks in a pub/bar (33% vs. 25% of all adults) and visiting the gym (27% vs. 19% of all adults).

More feel safer returning to cafés and restaurants by the 29th June than do returning to pubs: While 42% would feel comfortable visiting a restaurant by this date, only 25% would feel safe enough to visit a pub. In fact, 22% would not feel safe enough to return to a pub for drinks until at least November. This poses a serious challenge for publicans who will need to reassure their customers that it is safe to come back.

B&A will be measuring consumer attitudes to Ireland’s reopening once again next month. If you would like to know more about this month’s edition, which includes attitudes to the safety of returning to shopping centres, gyms, concerts and other activities/events, please visit or contact Cathy Glennon on

Technical Note

A quota sample of 2,833 adults aged 16+ was interviewed between 3rd and 8th June 2020 for this study. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 2% points. Copyright in the research is retained by B&A and its use is authorised once referenced correctly. Queries about the study to be addressed to Cathy Glennon of B&A at

About B&A

B&A is Ireland’s leading independent market research agency. The company was founded 35 years ago and is based in Milltown, Dublin 6. They offer a full suite of quantitative and qualitative market research services, with a team that are experienced in all sectors. Contact them with your research query on or 01 205 7500.


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For 30 years we have been Ireland's leading and most innovative provider of market research and consumer insight solutions. We have evolved from being a small 'boutique' agency with core qualitative expertise, to being the largest Independent agency with a genuinely solution-neutral focus. We are as dynamic and creative quantitatively as we are thorough and meticulous qualitatively.

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