Poll: Most Utahns want mask-wearing in businesses

Sixty percent of Utahns say they would be more likely to visit a grocery store, restaurant or other business if the employees AND visitors had to wear face masks inside, a new UtahPolicy.com poll finds.

It is yet another example where Utahns in general, and businesses in particular, would be wise to wear masks, or require mask-wearing, while in public, even though some conservatives and Republicans keep fighting requirements (as this poll also shows).

Twenty percent told Y2 Analytics that whether a business required employees or customers to wear masks or not, it made no difference to them.

And 21 percent said if a business requires their employees or their clients to wear masks, it would actually make them LESS likely to visit or do business with that establishment.

The poll was finished before the number of daily coronavirus cases spiked in Utah, so those who responded believed the state was doing pretty good with keeping the number of new daily viruses below 400. The rolling seven-day average is now over 1,000 new cases, and the number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients is going up, as well. Accordingly, the fact that Utah is now among the top new-case leaders in the nation per capita of the population is not reflected in these opinions.

There are some real differences on this question based on gender, geography and partisan and political ideology, Y2 finds.

For example:

— 64 percent of women said they would be much or somewhat more likely to visit a business where employees and patrons had to wear masks. But only 52 percent of men said the same, a 12-percentage-point difference.

— 30 percent of “strong Republicans” said they would be more likely to visit a mask-required business, but 45 percent said they would be LESS likely to visit a business where employees and clients had to wear masks.

— 60 percent of political independents said they would be more likely to shop, eat or otherwise patronize a business that required all inside to wear masks.

— And 98 percent of “strong Democrats” said they would be more likely to visit a mask-only business.

— “Strong conservatives” don’t like mandatory in-business mask requirements, 56 percent said they would be LESS likely to shop or visit there.

— Moderates, by a 72 percent majority, said they favor mask-wearing businesses.

— Democrats? Don’t even ask them to go inside a business that doesn’t require masks, 96 percent of their “strong” members say.

Now, how is this inside-business-mask-requirement question reflected on how much education someone has?

— Those who have just a high school degree, no technical or college or higher degree: 44 percent said they are more likely to visit or buy from a business were all employees and patrons are wearing masks, 11 percent said it didn’t matter, and 46 percent said they are “much less” likely to shop or eat at that mandatory mask-wearing place.

— 60 percent of folks with a four-year college degree said they are more likely to patronize a business where masks for all are required, just 19 percent said the mask mandate made them less likely to go there.

— And those with a post college degree, like a doctor or lawyer or accountant or Master’s or PhD — 72 percent said they are more likely to shop or eat at a mandatory mask establishment.

Finally, here is a geographic interesting find:

— In Salt Lake County, where a government mask-wearing mandate has been in force for months, 71 percent of county residents said they are more likely to go into a mandatory-mask business, 11 percent said less likely.

— In Utah County, where the countywide mandate was issued just last week after a real spike in the number of COVID-19 patients, 52 percent said they were more likely to enter a mask-mandatory business, while 20 percent said they are less likely to go there, and 28 percent said a mask requirement sign on the door meant nothing to them, they would go in or not with nothing to do with the mask-wear requirement.

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who oversee Utah have signed a letter recommending that loyal members in the state follow all recommendations and orders concerning the pandemic.

There is no statewide mask-wearing mandate order, Gov. Gary Herbert letting local officials make those orders themselves, or not.

Among “very active” Mormons in Utah, 55 percent said they would be more likely to shop/eat at a business that requires all inside to wear masks, 30 percent said it makes no difference to them on mask-wearing inside, and 16 percent said a mask-wearing requirement inside the business would make them less likely to go inside.

So, notice to business owners: Putting a “wear mask” sign on your front door may help your business in some places in Utah, and harm your business in other parts.

Y2 polled 1,083 people statewide on this issue from Aug. 19 to Sept. 3, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage point.