Eleven per cent of Britons would rather pubs stayed open than schools in the event of another lockdown, it has been revealed.
A survey by polling agency YouGov asked 2,370 British adults for their opinion as schools prepared to open again next month.
Respondents were asked: “If the coronavirus risk meant the government was only able to allow one of the following to open, which do you think it should be?”
The YouGov survey found that while 78% of people thought schools were more important than pubs, 11% said they would rather pubs remained open during lockdown.
Some 18% of 18 to 24-year-olds wanted pubs to stay open instead of schools, compared to just 7% of respondents over the age of 60.
Men were also more likely to want pubs to stay open than women, with 15% of men considering them more essential than schools compared with just seven per cent of women.
There was also a startling regional difference, with 13% of those in London and the north of England preferring that pubs remain open – as opposed to just 4% in Scotland.
It comes as schools prepare to return next month amid warnings on Tuesday that older pupils are just as likely as adults to transmit coronavirus.
Asked about the Public Health England findings, Boris Johnson said: "I'm very, very impressed by the way schools have got ready.
"Obviously, we need to make sure that we don't have a second wave, that we do everything we can to avoid a second wave.
"I'm afraid you are going to see outbreaks, we have seen them across the country in the last few weeks and months and we have also seen the immense efforts that local authorities have gone to, local communities have gone to, to get that outbreak under control.
"The most important thing for people to remember is that you have got to get schools back, we will get schools back, but also we have got to stick to our discipline - so in schools they have some very well thought through plans for how to manage it."
Education secretary Gavin Williamson has said PHE findings due to be published later this year showed there was little risk from the government's plans to reopen schools in England in September.
However, The Times reported that while there was little risk from primary schools, researchers who had worked on the study were unhappy with the way their findings, which have not yet been fully analysed, had been used by ministers.
The report is likely to heighten concerns among teaching unions concerned about whether schools can safely return in the way ministers want.