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UW Survey Finds Mask Use in Wyoming on the Rise

December 11, 2020

Wyoming residents are reporting an increased use of masks when visiting indoor public places, according to a new survey by the University of Wyoming’s Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center (WYSAC).

The survey was conducted Monday, Dec. 7, with a majority of data collected before the announcement of Gov. Mark Gordon’s statewide mask mandate Monday afternoon.

Just over three-quarters (76 percent) of Wyomingites now say they wear masks always or often when visiting indoor public places, an increase from 69 percent in early November and 61 percent in early October. Only 6 percent of Wyoming residents now report that they never wear masks when visiting indoor public places, while 9 percent say they rarely wear masks in this situation.

“At the time of the survey, roughly half of the counties in Wyoming had recently enacted face mask mandates,” says Brian Harnisch, senior research scientist in charge of the project at WYSAC. “Self-reported mask use in those counties, those that say they always wear a mask in indoor public places, was roughly 20 percentage points higher than those without a mandate.”

Support for an ordinance that requires those in their communities to wear masks when visiting indoor public places was at 63 percent when the survey was fielded Monday, similar to the 62 percent support measured in November. While this represents the state as a whole, differences in public opinion can exist from community to community.

The survey is the 11th of multiple surveys WYSAC is conducting to measure public opinion on a number of topics related to COVID-19. A total of 519 Wyoming residents participated in the survey representing all Wyoming counties, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

Other findings from the latest survey:

-- When comparing counties with mask mandates in effect to those without mask mandates, 78 percent of those in counties with mandates report that they wear masks always or often when visiting indoor public places. In counties without mask mandates, 66 percent of residents say they wear masks always or often. When considering only “always” responses, 61 percent of residents in counties with mandates say they always wear masks in indoor public places, while 41 percent of those in counties without mandates say the same.

-- Sixty-two percent of Wyomingites say they are very or somewhat likely to get the vaccine for COVID-19 when it becomes available, while 38 percent say they are very or somewhat unlikely to get the vaccine.

-- Of those who say they are unlikely to get the vaccine, almost three-quarters (72 percent) name concerns about side-effects as a major reason. Roughly half (49 percent) say they do not think they need it, while 59 percent want to know more about how well it works. About one in five of those who are unlikely to get the vaccine cite cost as a major reason.

-- Confidence in the U.S. and Wyoming health care systems to handle the response to COVID-19 has dropped significantly since November. When considering the U.S. health care system, 42 percent of Wyomingites say they have confidence it can handle the response -- a decrease of 9 percentage points since November. When considering the Wyoming health care system, 40 percent of residents say they have confidence -- a decrease of 9 percentage points since November.

To see the survey methodology, chart, figures and complete survey results, go to https://wysac.uwyo.edu/wysac/.

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