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41% of Utahns are okay with not wearing a mask in public, new poll says

FILE -- Leo Masic, Utah Transit Authority customer experience planner, sticks a sign on the door of a Utah Transit Authority bus at the Salt Lake Central Station in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The signs alert passengers that face masks must be worn in order to ride public transit. Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY – A new poll from the Deseret News and the Hinckley Institute of Politics has found 41% of Utahns are comfortable not wearing a mask in public. 

Two months ago, the same poll found 42% were okay not wearing a mask. 

Though rural Utahns and some in Utah County have been very vocal against mask mandates, the poll also found 36% of voters in Utah’s 4th Congressional District also feel comfortable going outside without a mask. Many people in that district also live in Salt Lake County. 

In the statewide poll, another 4% said they might feel safe next month, while 6% say it will take two to three months before they feel safe. Ten-percent said it would take three to six months, and 19% said it’ll be more than six months before they would feel okay without one. Five-percent said they never will. 

Why do some Utahns want to ditch their masks? 

The Deseret News found there could be a wide variety of reasons. 

One is some people feel recent mask mandates, which have been credited with helping the state’s COVID-19 case counts go down, are government overreach. 

Others have been frustrated by the conflicting information coming from Washington. For example, Dr. Anthony Fauci originally warned against wearing masks in March before reversing course a short time later. 

Health experts also feel people can become complacent when things get better. 

The poll also found that 43% of Utahns think the governor should require everyone to wear a mask in public at all times during the pandemic. Thirty-six percent believe that choice should be up to individuals, while 18% said local governments should make those decisions.

Despite the poll numbers, the Utah Department of Health says their data shows 80% of Utahns either always or usually wear a mask.

Deseret News | Poll: 41% of Utahns already comfortable without mask in public