Majority of Americans want masks for travelers
Fargo, ND (AP) — A majority of Americans continue to support a mask requirement for people traveling by planes and other shared transportation, according to a new poll. The government’s mandate regarding transport masks remains pending, following Monday’s ruling by a federal judge.
The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll finds that despite vocal opposition to the requirement, which included verbal abuse and physical abuse of flight attendants, 56% of Americans support people on planes, trains and public transport wear masks. , against 24% who oppose it and 20% who say they are neither in favor nor opposed.
Interviews for the poll were conducted from Thursday to Monday, shortly before a federal judge in Florida struck down the nationwide mask mandate on airplanes and public transportation. Following the decision, airlines and airports immediately removed their requirements that passengers wear face coverings.
The Transportation Security Administration has stopped enforcing the mask requirement, and the Justice Department announced Tuesday that it will not appeal the decision unless the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determines only mask wearing. mandatory is always necessary.
The poll shows a wide partisan divide on the issue. Among Democrats, 80% support it and only 5% oppose it. Among Republicans, 45% oppose versus 33% support, with 22% saying neither.
Vicki Pettus, who recently moved from Frankfort, Ky., to Clearwater, Fla., to be near her grandchildren, said she enjoys the view of Old Tampa Bay but doesn’t like the “very nonchalant attitude by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, on masking. She said she will continue to wear her mask to protect against the coronavirus, including around her 55-plus home community and on the plane when she travels to Kentucky in a few weeks. “Especially on a plane where that air recirculates,” said Pettus, 71, an independent who leans toward the Democratic Party. “I think people are really stupid not to wear their masks. But hey, it’s their decision, and if they want to get sick, that’s fine. I won’t.”
But Kriste Lee, who works in sales in South Florida, is looking forward to flying without a mask the next time she travels next month. “I really wish I was on a plane when they made that announcement,” Lee, 47, said. “I would have danced down the aisle.”
Americans’ continued support for mandating masks on transportation comes even as concerns over Covid-19 are among their lowest points in the past two years. Only 20% now say they are very or extremely worried that they or a family member will be infected. That’s down slightly since 25% said the same just a month ago and 36% in December and January when the Omicron variant was all the rage. Another 33 percent now say they are somewhat worried, while 48 percent say they are not worried at all.
Count Betty Harp, of Leitchfield, Ky., among the “very worried,” and not because she turns 84 next month. She said she looked after her big house and garden on her own, did a lot of canning and was in “fantastic health for my age”. But she has lost many friends and family to the virus, which has killed nearly a million people in the United States.
“I know Covid is still here. He’s still here,” said Harp, who described herself as a Republican-leaning independent. “I think we should all be wearing masks for a bit longer.”
In another AP-NORC poll last month, 44% of Americans always said they often or always wear face masks outside their homes, though that’s a significant drop from the 65% who said so at the start of the year.
The latest poll also shows about half of Americans support requiring masks for workers who interact with the public, compared with about 3 in 10 opposed. Support is similar to requiring people at crowded public events such as concerts, sporting events and movies to wear masks.
There, too, there are major partisan divisions. Seventy-two percent of Democrats favor requiring people attending crowded public events to wear masks, while among Republicans, 25% favor and 49% oppose. The numbers are similar for requiring masks for workers in contact with the public.
Lee, who said she doesn’t “do politics,” wondered aloud why people are complaining about the judge’s ruling and said no one is stopping anyone from wearing masks if they want to. wanted to. “We all have our beliefs and obviously different points of view,” said Lee, who is unvaccinated. “Mine are definitely different from people who are angry and upset.”
US employees are divided on whether people working in person at their own workplace should be required to wear masks. Thirty-four percent support the requirement, 33% oppose it, and 33% neither support nor oppose. Among working Democrats, 48% support and 18% oppose. Among Republican workers, 53% are against and 18% are for.
Mike Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said the mask mandate messaging would have been more effective if it required N95 or KN95 respirators, which are more effective at preventing transmission. of the virus.
“But you’ve actually created a real challenge for yourself with the public now being selective, even downright angry at these mandates,” said Osterholm, who added that he would continue to wear his N95 mask on planes.
The AP-NORC poll of 1,085 adults was conducted April 14-18 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.