Urgent Need to Comply: Only 11% citizens say there is effective social distancing compliance in their area, district/city; Only 29% say mask compliance is effective


  • ● As senior citizens get ready for their second dose, only 44% citizens say social distancing compliance is good at the vaccination centers; 74% citizens say mask compliance is good
  • ● 44% citizens say there is effective compliance to wearing mask when traveling by flights or at airports, trains or at railway stations, bus or at bus stands. Only 15% said compliance to social distancing norms is effective

April 6, 2021, New Delhi: The number of positive cases amid the 2nd wave of COVID-19 have been constantly rising in India, crossing the 100,000, with Maharashtra taking the lead, followed by Karnataka, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh amongst other states. The Health Secretary of India has been reiterating that urgent action must be taken while Niti Aayog member VK Paul has described the ongoing situation as going from “bad to worse” as daily cases in the month of March alone reached nearly 9-fold, with a 3-fold rise in daily deaths. Following suit amid concerns, the Government of Maharashtra has announced night curfew, from 8 pm to 7 am, along with weekend lockdown starting Friday from 8 pm to Monday 7 am. It has announced a complete shutdown of gymnasium and indoor sports, religious places, theatre, amusement parks, solons, beauty parlors, as well as political rallies. It has also announced that private offices will have to work from home, while government offices, except health, disaster and medical education departments, will work to 50% capacity.

Citizens on the LocalCircles platform have been regularly reporting about people in their area, district, or city becoming complacent towards following Covid protocols, especially towards social distancing and mask-wearing, and even if people had a mask with them, it rarely covered their mouth and the nose. Also, many reports were received about how rallies and public meetings are being held in poll-bound states, including private and public events, markets that rarely have any social distancing or mask-wearing compliance. As the daily caseload crossed more than 1 lakh vis-à-vis rise in new variants of SARS-COV-2 amid vaccination to more than 7.5 crore citizens, LocalCircles has conducted another survey to understand how people are following social distancing and mask-wearing norms as cases. The survey received more than 33,000 responses from citizens located in 319 districts of India. Approximately 42% of the respondents were from Tier 1 districts, 27% from Tier 2 districts and 31% were from Tier 3, 4 and rural districts of the country.

Only 11% citizens feel that there is good compliance with social distancing norms and wearing mask in their area, district or city

In the question that tried to understand citizens’ experience and observation if people in their area, district, or city are complying with wearing a mask and following social distancing norms, 23% said “No compliance at all for both social distancing and wearing a mask”, 18% said “No compliance to social distancing but wearing a mask”, 22% said “No compliance to social distancing and limited compliance to wearing a mask”, and 1% said “No compliance to wearing a mask and limited compliance to social distancing”. There were only 23% of citizens who said “limited compliance to both wearing a mask and social distancing”, and just 11% saying “good compliance to both social distancing and wearing a mask”, while 2% couldn’t say. The question in the survey received 15,813 responses.

Only 11% citizens feel that there is good compliance with social distancing norms and wearing mask in their area, district or city

Only 29% citizens say mask compliance is good in their area, district, or city

Wearing a mask is one of the most important COVID-19 precaution measures. Wearing a mask alone reduces the chances of getting infected drastically as it stops the virus from entering both the mouth and the nose. Citizens from around the world are upgrading their masks and moving to KN95 or N95 masks, and in some cases, people are wearing double basic masks for protection. Per September 2020 survey by LocalCircles, 67% citizens rated compliance level as good in their area, which then reduced drastically to 30% in February 2021 survey. Various reasons cited by citizens at the time for not wearing masks included discomfort, no or poor enforcement by most local authorities, and declining caseloads in their area. Even though the caseloads are now steadily rising, only 29% of citizens in the current survey have rated that mask compliance by people is “good” in their area. When the data was analysed based on locations, citizens who said compliance was “limited” in location was 45%, while those who rated it as “no compliance” was 24%. This indicates that the mask compliance has been going down from metros to urban to semi-urban and rural India.

Only 11% citizens say social distancing compliance is good in their area, district, or city

There is also a sense of weariness of the pandemic setting off for most citizens and people have started moving freely, meeting relatives and friends, going to workplaces, visiting malls and markets, attending weddings and social functions, socializing in restaurants, and students are attending in-person classes. If we look out for the aggregate percentage of citizens in the survey to know if social distancing compliance is followed in their area, district, or city, 63% feel there is no social distancing compliance, 11% said there is good compliance, while 24% said there is limited compliance.

Only 29% citizens say mask compliance is good in their area, district, or city

Only 29% citizens say mask compliance is good in their area, district, or city

Only 11% citizens say social distancing compliance is good in their area, district, or city

Only 11% citizens say social distancing compliance is good in their area, district, or city

74% citizens feel that there is effective compliance to wearing mask at the vaccination center/location; 44% say compliance to social distancing norms is effective

It can be mentioned here that the Government of India has directed the vaccination centres, public and private Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs), to remain operationalised on all days in April. Currently, citizens above 45 in the ongoing 3rd phase of the vaccination drive are being inoculated. Previously, citizens above 60 and those above 45 with co-morbidities were given the jab, after inoculating healthcare and frontline workers in the first phase. Per media reports, citing Health Ministry officials, vaccinations for everyone above 18 may have to wait until the country has more vaccine options, along with better reserves of doses. The next question in the survey that sought citizens’ response about mask-wearing and social distancing compliance followed at the vaccination center. In response, 6% said “no compliance at all for both social distancing and wearing mask”, and 30% said “no compliance to social distancing but wearing mask”. There were 44% of citizens who said “good compliance to both social distancing and wearing mask”. Breaking down the poll, 11% said “no compliance to social distancing and limited compliance to wearing mask”, 1% said “no compliance to wearing mask and limited compliance to social distancing”, 5% said “limited compliance to both wearing mask and social distancing”, and 2% couldn’t say. Per aggregate responses of citizens indicated that 74% of citizens feel that there is effective compliance to wearing mask at the vaccination center, while 44% said compliance to social distancing norms is effective. The question in the survey received 8,595 responses.

74% citizens feel that there is effective compliance to wearing mask at the vaccination center/location; 44% say compliance to social distancing norms is effective

74% citizens feel that there is effective compliance to wearing mask at the vaccination center/location; 44% say compliance to social distancing norms is effective

44% citizens say social distancing compliance is good at the vaccination centers; 74% citizens say mask compliance is good

Alternatively, if we are to look into the aggregate percentage of responses of citizens on their observation towards social distancing norms at the vaccination centers, 44% said there is a “good compliance”, only 6% said “limited compliance”, and 47% said “no compliance”. Similarly, if we are to observe citizens’ response on mask-wearing compliance, 74% said there is a “good compliance”, only 16% said “limited compliance, and 7% said “no compliance”. Per aggregate response indicated that the 74% of citizens surveyed believe that mask compliance is good at the vaccination center, however, only 47% rated social distancing norms as good. This suggested, that authorities are not able to properly manage the queue of citizens coming at vaccination centers for inoculation. Experts suggest that people should maintain at least 2-3 feet distance with each other.

44% citizens say social distancing compliance is good at the vaccination center/location

44% citizens say social distancing compliance is good at the vaccination center/location

74% citizens say mask compliance is good at the vaccination center/location

74% citizens say mask compliance is good at the vaccination center/location

44% citizens feel that there is effective compliance to wearing mask when traveling by flights or at airports, trains or at railway stations, bus or at bus stands. Only 15% said compliance to social distancing norms is effective

One activity that has seen significant pick up since September 2020 has been travel. People have bee traveling via road, trains as well as flights. With the school session getting over in many parts, people have been travelling in March and have made their summer travel plans as well. To understand what have people experienced when they travelled in the last 30 days, the survey tried to understand from citizens about mask and social distancing compliance when travelling in flights, trains, buses as well as at airports, train stations and bus stands. In response, 25% said “no compliance at all for both social distancing and wearing mask”, 29% said “no compliance to social distancing but wearing mask”, and 15% said “no compliance to social distancing and limited compliance to wearing mask”. Breaking down the poll, 14% said “limited compliance to both wearing mask and social distancing”, while 15% said “good compliance to both social distancing and wearing mask”, and 2% couldn’t say. The findings of the poll indicated that 44% of citizens feel that there is effective compliance to wearing mask when travelling at airports, railway stations, or bus stands. Only 15% said compliance to social distancing norms is effective. The question in the survey received 8,767 responses.

44% citizens feel that there is effective compliance to wearing mask when traveling by flights or at airports, trains or at railway stations, bus or at bus stands. Only 15% said compliance to social distancing norms is effective

Only 15% citizens say social distancing compliance is good when traveling at airports, railway stations, or bus stands; 44% citizens say mask compliance is good

Alternatively, if we are to look into the aggregate percentage of responses of citizens on their observation towards social distancing norms when traveling at airports, railway stations, or bus stands, only 15% said “good compliance”, 14% said “limited compliance”, and the majority of 69% said “no compliance”. Similarly, if we are to observe citizens’ response on mask-wearing compliance when traveling, 44% said “good compliance”, 29% said “limited compliance”, and 25% said “no compliance”. The findings suggested that mask-wearing and social distancing norms are rarely followed while traveling. This is evident as only 15% of citizens rated social distancing compliance as good, while 44% citizens rated mask compliance as good while traveling at airports, railway stations, or bus stands.

Only 15% citizens say social distancing compliance is good when traveling at airports, railway stations, or bus stands; 44% citizens say mask compliance is good

Only 15% citizens say social distancing compliance is good when traveling at airports, railway stations, or bus stands; 44% citizens say mask compliance is good

44% citizens say mask compliance is good when traveling using flights/airports, trains/railway stations, or bus/bus stands

44% citizens say mask compliance is good when traveling using flights/airports, trains/railway stations, or bus/bus stands

As COVID-19 cases in India reaches its highest peak in the current 2nd wave, it is critical for people as well the Central Government, State Governments and local administrations to ensure that people comply with mask and social distancing norms and other COVID-19 prevention guidelines as advised by the public health authorities. It can be mentioned here that the mask-wearing and social distancing compliance is really low in smaller towns and rural areas and enforcement is near zero. The first wave was predominantly urban and semi-urban centric, and had not impacted rural India except in cases where migrants were going back to their hometown. A significant risk with the current wave is it reaching smaller towns and rural areas most of which do not have the required health infrastructure to deal with the spike in cases which will mean more suffering and more pressure on the urban health centers, because individuals who can afford will reach to their nearest urban health centres and cities who in turn will have to treat their own population but those from out of the district. As indicated by the findings of the survey, only 29% and 11% of citizens believe that mask-wearing and social distancing compliance are good in their area, district, or city.

Even at vaccination centers, though 74% of citizens say mask compliance is good, and 44% citizens say social distancing compliance as good. As the vaccination rive is expanding, the compliance to these norms is expected to worsen. With many senior citizens approaching vaccination centers for their second dose in the next 2-4 weeks, it is critical that mask and social distancing norms are enforced by those vaccinating and administering the drive or it will not happen. The last thing we as a nation want is the vaccination centers becoming super spreaders.

Percentage of citizens who rated social distancing compliance as effective

Percentage of citizens who rated social distancing compliance as effective

Percentage of citizens who rated mask compliance as effective

Percentage of citizens who rated mask compliance as effective

LocalCircles will escalate the findings of this study with Central and State Governments such that much needed actions and enforcement can begin to address the gaps identified by citizens in regard to mask and social distancing compliance.

Survey Demographics

33000+ responses were received from citizens residing in 319 districts of India. 69% respondents were men while 31% respondents were women. 42% respondents were from tier 1, 27% from tier 2 and 31% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants were validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.

About LocalCircles

LocalCircles, India’s leading Community Social Media platform enables citizens and small businesses to escalate issues for policy and enforcement interventions and enables Government to make policies that are citizen and small business centric. LocalCircles is also India’s # 1 pollster on issues of governance, public and consumer interest. More about LocalCircles can be found on https://www.localcircles.com

For more queries - media@localcircles.com, +91-8585909866

All content in this report is a copyright of LocalCircles. Any reproduction or redistribution of the graphics or the data therein requires the LocalCircles logo to be carried along with it. In case any violation is observed LocalCircles reserves the right to take legal action.

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