More than 40 percent of Americans plan to continue wearing masks in crowded places even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, according to a new poll.
Conducted by The Washington Post and George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government, the survey asked 1,000 adults about their lives during the pandemic, as well as what they expect their lives to be like after the crisis.
When it comes to wearing masks, 43 percent of those surveyed said they plan to wear them in crowded places. However, 54 percent said they do not.
Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they plan to wear masks when they are sick, according to the poll.
Additionally, 66 percent said they plan to wear comfortable clothing more often. Forty-six percent said they will socialize with their family and friends virtually, and 73 percent said they plan to spend more time outside. About 17 percent of women said they plan to wear less makeup.
Forty-one percent of respondents said they plan to have “telehealth” appointments with doctors after the pandemic ends.
The survey also asked if people have returned to their normal, pre-pandemic lives. About 30 percent said they have fully returned and 35 percent responded that they mostly have, while 24 percent said they partly have. Seven percent said they have barely returned to normal life, while 2 percent said “not at all.”
Most people who have not returned to their normal lives say that they believe they will be able to within the next year, while only 13 percent said within the next month, and 19 percent said within the next three months. But 12 percent said they believe they will never fully return to their pre-pandemic lives.
The poll also asked respondents about their behavior throughout the late spring and summer, when COVID-19 cases were decreasing. About 38 percent said they have attended a crowded indoor gathering in the past three months, while 45 percent said they went to a crowded outdoor gathering.
About 33 percent said they would be concerned about attending an indoor gathering, while 22 percent replied the same for an outdoor gathering.
According to the survey, 76 percent of respondents said they have eaten at a restaurant indoors in the past three months, but only 16 percent said they have gone to a movie in a theater. Nine percent said they have attended a live ticketed sporting event.
Fifty-five percent of respondents said they have gotten a haircut in a salon or barber shop, while 74 percent said they have visited a doctor or a dentist in the past three months.
The survey was conducted by telephone from July 6 to July 21. Seventy-five percent of respondents were reached by cell phone and 25 percent by landline. It had a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.
Since the poll’s completion, COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have surged due to the highly-transmissible Delta variant. On July 21, the 7-day average of new cases in the U.S. was 41,555 per day. On Saturday, that number had more than doubled to 108,513, according to data from The New York Times.