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More than half of Canadians usually wear a mask in public: Angus Reid

Last Updated Jul 16, 2020 at 12:49 pm EST

FILE - Packages of face masks on April 29, 2020. (PHOTO: Tony Fera, CityNews)

55% consistently wear a mask; 13% of those polled said they never wear a mask

Report links whether someone is willing to wear a mask and how concerned they are about the virus

75% of Canadians would support mandatory mask policies being put in place

VANCOUVER – New research from the Angus Reid Institute has found that a lot of Canadians are voluntarily putting on a mask before heading out–and whether someone wears one depends on how worried they are about getting sick.

The survey found that 55 per cent of those polled said they consistently wear a mask while out; one-in-five said they always wear a mask and one-in-three said they very often wear a mask, especially if they will be around other people.

Researchers found mask adoption to be “considerably higher” in urban centres where you’re more likely to come into contact with people.

Canada’s hardest-hit provinces–Ontario and Quebec–saw the highest levels of mask adoption, with 69 or cent of Ontarians and 54 per cent of Quebeckers donning a mask when they’re around other people. Compare that to less than half of people in other provinces opting to wear a mask.

Women were found to be more willing to wear a mask than their male counterparts. Women over 55 were found to be the most likely to wear a mask and men between 35 and 54 years old were the least likely to wear a mask.

Only 13 per cent of those polled said they never wear a mask.

People concerned for their health more likely to wear masks

The report says there seems to be a link between whether someone is willing to wear a mask and how concerned they are about contracting COVID-19. Fear and anxiety surrounding the virus grew steadily through the first half of the year, dropped off in June, and began to climb again this month.

Four-in-five (81%) of those who are very worried about contracting the virus say they wear a mask always or most of the time. Four-in-five (85%) of those who are not worried at all about becoming sick say they rarely or never wear one.

Concern about contracting the virus was more prevalent in Canada’s senior and elderly population with seven-in-10 reporting being worried. Forty-one per cent Canadians from 18 to 34 years old were concerned about testing positive.

Forgetfulness, fashion, comfort: reasons why some say no to masks

So why are some people choosing to head off to the grocery store with a naked face?

Angus Reid has narrowed it down to a few main reasons. Almost 30 per cent of the people who said they don’t wear masks said they believe social distancing measures are enough to keep the virus from spreading. Another 23 per cent said they find the masks uncomfortable.

About a quarter of people are just forgetful! Twenty-six per cent of those not wearing masks say it simply slips their mind.

Other reasons included not being worried about getting sick (20 per cent), questions about if the masks are actually effective (15 per cent), not seeing many others wearing them (11 per cent), and not liking how they look in a mask (2 per cent).

Overall, Angus Reid’s survey found most Canadians–75 per cent–would actually support mandatory mask policies being put in place.