Majority of Manitobans support indoor mask requirement: survey

By | September 2, 2020

WINNIPEG — A new survey has determined that the majority of Manitobans would support the Manitoba government mandating masks in all indoor public spaces.

Probe Research conducted the online poll between Aug. 19 and Aug. 29 in collaboration with EPI Research. Probe surveyed 1,049 Manitoba adults about their thoughts regarding the use of masks.

The survey found that 61 per cent strongly support a mandatory mask policy, and 23 per cent somewhat support it. Meanwhile, nine per cent said they strongly oppose a potential rule about wearing masks inside public places, while six per cent said they somewhat oppose it.

Probe Research found the demographic groups most likely to strongly support this mandate are women, Winnipeggers, those who graduated from university, and supporters of the NDP and Liberal Parties.

The survey also looked into whether Manitobans are opting to wear masks when they are outside of their homes. It found 35 per cent said always, 35 per cent said often, 20 per cent of people said they rarely wear them, and 10 per cent said they have never worn one.

Similar to those who strongly support the indoor mask mandate, the demographic groups most likely to consistently wear masks are women, Winnipeggers, NDP and Liberal supporters, as well as first-generation immigrants.

Excluding the 10 per cent of respondents who never wear masks, 84 per cent of Manitobans said they wear one when they feel it’s appropriate, while 16 per cent said they wear one only when it’s required.

Probe Research also asked those who don’t wear masks why they choose not to, with the main reasons being masks are too uncomfortable or hot; masks won’t protect from COVID-19; masks won’t stop the spread of COVID-19; and there aren’t enough cases for them to bother to wear one.

As for whether Manitobans feel comfortable or uncomfortable when they see people wearing masks in public, 53 per cent said they were very comfortable, 31 per cent said they were somewhat comfortable, 11 per cent said they were somewhat uncomfortable; and four per cent said they were very uncomfortable.

When broken down by demographic groups, the poll found those most likely to be very comfortable when they see others wearing masks in public are women, Winnipeggers, university graduates, and Liberal and NDP supporters.

The main reasons respondents cited for being uncomfortable when seeing people wear masks in public are: they hide people’s faces and facial expressions, they won’t protect you and aren’t being used properly, and it’s a form of social control.

With case numbers continuing to rise in Manitoba, Probe Research asked Manitobans how concerned they are about contracting COVID-19. It found that nearly half said they are somewhat concerned, 22 per cent said they’re very concerned, 20 per cent said they were not really concerned and nine per cent said they’re not at all concerned.

The survey found the groups of people most concerned about contracting COVID-19 are women, Winnipeggers, people over the age of 55, university grads, and Liberal and NDP supporters.

Since an online survey is a sample of convenience, no margin of error can be attributed to this poll. But, Probe said, a random, representative, non-convenience sample of 1,049 Manitoba adults would have a margin of error plus-minus three percentage points 19 times out of 20. When the survey is broken down into subgroups the margin of error is higher.

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