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UCalgary researchers survey opinions on wearing face masks during COVID-19

What’s your opinion on wearing face masks during COVID-19? The University of Calgary wants to know.

All Calgarians over the age of 18 are eligible to participate in the survey. The UCalgary researchers are hoping to receive at least 1,000 responses and encourage responses from all races, genders and backgrounds from every area in the city.

“We are asking, ‘What are the behaviours or reasons that are driving that decision to not wear a mask?’ It’s important for us to understand these behaviours for public safety in terms of reducing spread of the virus, but also because of the angst that it causes Calgarians and business owners, and the pressure that it puts on city officials,” Dr. Katrina Milaney, associate professor, Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary, said.

The goal of the study is to understand Calgarians motivations for their choices – as anti-mask rallies continue in the city on a regular basis, and growing refusal to comply with the City’s face covering bylaw, UCalgary said in a news release.

In response to this “growing refusal,” the City council is considering increasing the fine to $500 for non-compliance.

“There are lots of rules we have to follow and things that we have to do as citizens to make sure that we’re safe, and that our neighbours and communities are safe,” Milaney said.

“I’m curious about why people are landing on this idea of a mask as a thing that they’re resistant to.”

Data will inform city decisions

In late 2020, the City of Calgary extended the mandatory mask mandate to December 2021.

Data collected from this study will help the City of Calgary to communicate to citizens about the value of wearing face masks.

“Mask wearing continues to play a significant role in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Although support for the practice is strong, not everyone supports the city’s face coverings bylaw,” Krista Ring with the City of Calgary said.

“It is more important than ever to make objective and fact-based decisions in government. Being able to accurately reflect back citizen perspectives to our City administration, elected officials, and Calgary’s citizens creates transparency and accountability as well as building trust.”