What do Utahns think about businesses requiring masks after mandate ends?

Signs remind customers to wear a mask while shopping at the Harmons grocery store in downtown Salt Lake City on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

Signs remind customers to wear a mask while shopping at the Harmons grocery store in downtown Salt Lake City on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. | Steve Griffin, Deseret News

The statewide mask mandate may be set to end this weekend, but Utahns will still need to keep their face coverings handy as many businesses will continue requiring them.

And more than 70% of residents say they’re OK with that, according to a new poll.

The majority of Utahns (52%) strongly believe businesses should be allowed to continue requiring masks in the effort to end the COVID-19 pandemic while 19% strongly believe they should not, the latest Deseret News/Hinckley Institute poll found. Another 19% of residents say they somewhat agree that businesses should be able to keep requiring masks, 8% say they somewhat disagree, and 1% aren’t sure.

The poll results are refreshing news to Missy Greis, owner of Salt Lake City-based Publik Coffee, where patrons will still be required to wear masks Saturday and for the foreseeable future.

“We believe masks work. Our proof for ourselves is just that out of 64 employees, only five contracted COVID — and none of them at work. So no one transmitted it or contracted it at work, and we’ve been wearing masks,” she said.

The poll was conducted March 26-31 by Scott Rasmussen of 1,000 registered voters throughout the state. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Poll results were similar across each age group, with 50% of those ages 18-34 agreeing that businesses should be able to continue requiring masks, as well as 53% of those ages 35-54 and 51% of those ages 55 and up.

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But Democrats had a much higher likelihood of supporting ongoing business mask requirements, at 83% compared to 35% of Republicans and 56% of those from other parties or unaffiliated voters.

Utah’s mask mandate ends on Saturday. The Utah Legislature passed a bill early last month to lift the statewide mandate on April 10 and lay ground rules for when other COVID-19 restrictions on state and local levels will be terminated. Masks will still be required in schools and for large gatherings. Under the new law, counties can still vote to extend their own mask mandates.

Greis expressed frustration that the mask mandate is ending on an “arbitrary” date despite guidelines from national health officials. Gov. Spencer Cox is also “listening to the science” by requiring state employees to continue wearing masks at work, she noted, which might send a mixed message.

“We’ve made it this far, we’ve come so far, we’ve sacrificed so much, not just as an industry, food and beverage and bars and restaurants, but just as a community. We’ve sacrificed so much,” Greis said.

“We’re working so hard. Our employers are, in many ways, they’re having to confront the community and customers who are being told by the Legislature that they can take their masks off on April 10,” she said, adding that businesses know “we’re going to have …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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