A new poll from a Halifax-based research firm shows more than 80 per cent of Canadians would support making the wearing of masks in public places mandatory during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three-quarters also said they would get a COVID-19 vaccine when one become available.
But support numbers in New Brunswick are lower.
Narrative Research surveyed 1,230 Canadians from July 9-11 and found 83 per cent of respondents supported making masks mandatory in public places while only 12 per cent were opposed.
In New Brunswick, that support was only 72 per cent. Nova Scotia was slightly higher at 74 per cent, which was the average for the four Atlantic provinces.
Narrative Research COO Margaret Chapman said support seems to correlate with the prevalence of the virus in each region, with Ontario among the jurisdictions most in favour of mandatory masks.
“Ninety percent of the population supported mandatory mask-wearing,” Chapman said of Ontario. “So that’s a big difference to 74 per cent in Atlantic Canada, and it has to do with, I’m sure, the levels of infection in the province and the perceived level of risk.”
In Saint John, reaction to the suggestion of mandatory masks was mixed.
“If you’re out in public, just stay away,” one man said. “Keep your distance from people. If you don’t wear your clothes when you have a shower, why wear a mask when you’re outside?”
“As long as we don’t have the vaccine yet, I think the mask is very important for us to help us protect from this virus that we have right now,” said another man.
The same survey found three-quarters of Canadians would likely get a COVID-19 vaccination if and when one becomes available.
The numbers, again, were lower in Atlantic Canada, with only 66 per cent of New Brunswick residents polled saying they would get vaccinated.
Chapman believes that number is also a reflection of the lack of cases in the region.
“I don’t know if I would chance it with my immune system,” said one woman. “I have a really weak immune system. Personally, I wouldn’t, but I think people should get the vaccine.”
Nearly two in ten Canadians across the country said they likely or definitely would not get a vaccination.