People wear face masks as they wait to enter the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, Saturday, June 6, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. A new poll suggests Canadians are increasingly wearing protective face masks as they emerge from months of isolating at home to curb the spread of COVID-19.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Cautious Canadians increasingly wearing masks, fear second wave of COVID: Poll

Fifty-three per cent said masks should be mandatory in public and confined spaces

Canadians are increasingly wearing protective face masks as they emerge from months of isolating at home to curb the spread of COVID-19, a new poll suggests.

And it suggests that fear of a second wave of infections as bad as or worse than the first wave may behind their increased caution.

Fifty-one per cent of respondents to the Leger and Association for Canadian Studies survey said they have worn masks to go grocery shopping — up eight percentage points in one week.

Forty-five per cent said they’ve worn masks to go to a pharmacy (up seven points), 17 per cent at work (up four points), 14 per cent on public transit (up four points) and 12 per cent to go for walks (up two points).

And 53 per cent — up two points — said masks should be mandatory in public and confined spaces, like shopping malls and public transit.

The online poll, conducted June 5 to 7, surveyed 1,523 adult Canadians; it cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

The increased wearing of masks reflects the fact that restrictions on physical distancing are slowly easing across the country, with more Canadians venturing out of their homes and going back to work.

But Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque said it may also reflect fear of a second wave of the deadly coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Seventy-six per cent of respondents said they expect a second wave will hit Canada. And 32 per cent said they expect a second wave that is stronger than the first, with another 40 per cent saying they expect it to be just as strong.

ALSO READ: Amid anti-racism protests, Trudeau promises to push police body cameras with premiers

Bourque said that fear is also reflected in widespread support for a go-slow approach to reopening the country after three months of pandemic-induced lockdowns.

Two-thirds of respondents said governments should maintain the current, cautious pace of reopening, while another 21 per cent said they should slow down. Just 13 per cent wanted the pace sped up.

Fewer than 10 per cent supported reopening restaurants, hotels, gyms, bars, concert halls and theatres without any restrictions.

As long as safety precautions are in place, 68 per cent were comfortable seeing restaurants reopen, 67 per cent hotels, 55 per cent gyms or other fitness facilities and 50 per cent bars. But even with restrictions, just 44 per cent supported reopening concert halls and theatres, while 49 per cent were opposed.

“Canadians are being extremely prudent and careful about how they want us to go into sort of this exit strategy of Wave 1, probably because they fear Wave 2 is coming soon,” said Bourque.

“By no means is this over in Canadians’ minds … Maybe it’s just Canadians being Canadians, being careful about everything.”

Fully 80 per cent of respondents said it’s each Canadian’s individual responsibility to try to prevent a second wave of the pandemic. Just 17 per cent put the responsibility on governments.

Still, 16 per cent of respondents said they don’t intend to get an eventual vaccine against COVID-19, while another 16 per cent said they don’t know if they will. Sixty-eight per cent said they would get vaccinated.

Bourque speculated that not all those who said they won’t or might not get vaccinated are “anti-vaxxers.” Some likely feel they are young and healthy and at little risk of falling seriously ill.

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Peachland photographer thankful for community support

‘I share my photos because I want others to enjoy Peachland too,’ Rhonda Johnson said

GoFundMe launched for man severely injured in Westside Road crash

Doctors say it could be 12 months before Tyler Sheriff is able to walk again

Lake Country man facing charges after bear mace incident

The 23-year-old man has since been released from police custody

Car drives into Peachland business

One staff member at the business suffered minor injuries

Peachland Farmers’ Market sees good turnout despite challenging times

Unpredictable weather and pandemic concerns aren’t stopping people from enjoying the market

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

B.C. highway widening job reduced, costs still up $61 million

Union-only project scales back work to widen Trans-Canada

Kamloops man pleads guilty in vehicle-ramming incident that injured a Mountie

Adam Hibbert was arrested following a collision during a police pursuit on May 26, 2019

Greater Victoria nanny pleads guilty to child porn, sexual interference charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to slew of sex crimes

Victoria man dies after skydiving incident on Vancouver Island

34-year-old had made more than 1,000 jumps

Most Read