Poll finds half of Mass. residents support a mask mandate on public transit


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“I’m just worried that there is going to be another surge and I think it’s worthwhile to be cautious.”

FILE — A single-use face mask in Los Angeles on Sept. 20, 2021. Masks work best when everyone in the room has one on, but you’ll still benefit from masking up even when those around you aren’t. (Aileen Son/The New York Times)

A new poll by The Boston Globe and Suffolk University found that half of Massachusetts residents think that there should still be a mask mandate on public transit and planes, the Globe reported Sunday.

The poll results come two weeks after the MBTA and the TSA lifted their mask mandates in response to a federal judge’s ruling that struck down a nationwide face-covering rule for public transit and airplanes.

The poll of about 800 residents found that just over 50% think people riding the subway, trains, and public buses in Massachusetts should be required to wear face coverings, while 41% think there should not be a mask mandate for public transit, and 9% were undecided, the Globe reported.

“I’m just worried that there is going to be another surge and I think it’s worthwhile to be cautious,” Ron Berney, a 61-year-old retired healthcare professional and Cambridge resident, told the Globe. “For me, it’s not a big deal to wear them from time to time.”

The findings of the Globe poll are interesting given the findings of Boston.com’s reader poll on a similar topic published April 26.

When asked whether they would continue to wear a mask on public transit and planes, 49% of readers, a slight majority, said no. Of Boston.com readers, 48% said they would continue to wear masks on public transit and planes, and 3% were undecided.

“I’m vaxxed and done. It’s long overdue. Vaccines and treatments are available for the majority of the population and high-quality masks are available for others in high-risk populations,” Allen B. from Stow told Boston.com.

The results of both polls show a significant split among Massachusetts residents about whether masks are needed on public transit and planes.

The results also indicate that there are people who believe masks should be mandated on public transit and on planes, but will choose not to wear them if given the option.

The Globe poll found significant differences of opinion on wearing masks on public transit and planes based on political party. Self-identified Democrats were strongly in favor of a mandate, with 66% saying they should be required, while 62% of self-identified Republicans said they should not.

The Biden Administration is in the process of appealing the decision preventing a mask mandate on public transit and planes and airports nationwide, but while the outcome of such a mandate is unclear, many are taking advantage of the loosened restrictions.





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