84% support for mandatory indoor masks to combat COVID-19 in Ontario, poll finds

More than four out of five Ontarians support making it mandatory to wear masks indoors to curb the spread of COVID-19, a new poll for the Star has found.The Campaign Research survey found that 63 per cent of respondents “strongly support” compulsory indoor masks, while 21 per cent “somewhat support” them. Only six per cent “strongly oppose” masks with eight per cent “somewhat” opposed and the rest unsure.Campaign Research principal Nick Kouvalis said the overall 84 per cent support is significant five months into a pandemic that has killed more than 2,800 Ontarians, plunged the province into a recession and cost nearly 1.2-million jobs.“People believe wearing masks inside helps. It’s just not controversial here like it is in the United States,” Kouvalis said Friday.Indeed, south of the border, sporting a mask is derided in some quarters as a political statement.But numerous Ontario regions and municipalities — including Toronto, Peel, Halton, York, Durham and Ottawa — have enacted bylaws requiring masks to be worn in indoor public places, such as shops, with little public outcry.“We are in way better shape in Ontario than in the U.S.,” Kouvalis said, referring to the province’s relatively low count of new cases that contrasts sharply to some American states where the virus is spreading rapidly.But the poll suggests there is unease now that all of Ontario is in Stage 3 of the economy reopening, meaning bars and restaurants can offer indoor service after being restricted to patio meals and drinks for months.While 62 per cent agree with the Stage 3 reopening — and 31 per cent disagree and seven per cent were unsure — there is no consensus on allowing indoor hospitality service.“It’s really split,” said Kouvalis, who has worked with Conservative and Liberal candidates across Canada and managed the winning Toronto mayoral campaigns of John Tory and Rob Ford.Just 33 per cent agree that indoor and outdoor restaurant and bar service should be allowed, with 38 per cent saying only patios should be permitted and 20 per cent saying all eateries and pubs should have remained closed till the end of August, with nine per cent having no opinion.That means 58 per cent of respondents are not comfortable with the status quo.“What I take from that is the government can’t make everybody happy,” said Kouvalis.Campaign Research polled 1,031 people across Ontario from Monday to Thursday using Maru Blue’s online panel. It is an opt-in poll, but for comparison purposes, a random sample of this size would have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.The firm asked how safe people are feeling when they venture out into public spaces.Only 11 per cent said they feeling “very safe,” with 42 per cent “pretty safe” while 11 per cent feel “not at all safe” and 32 per cent “somewhat unsafe.” Four per cent had no opinion.Kouvalis said the findings indicate that while Ontarians “want to feel safe,” there is lingering uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus.With nursing homes accounting for nearly two-thirds of Ontario’s COVID-19 deaths occurring, Campaign Research asked whether the provincial government’s “independent commission” into long-term care would result in reforms.Opinion was divided, with 41 per cent agreeing it would “help to solve Ontario’s challenges” in long-term care while 31 per cent said it would not and 28 per cent weren’t sure.The pollster also asked “who do you think bears the most responsibility” for the death toll in nursing homes during the pandemic.Eleven per cent blame former Progressive Conservative premier Mike Harris, in office from 1995 to 2002; seven per cent blame former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty, in power from 2003 to 2013; eight per cent blame McGuinty’s Liberal successor, premier Kathleen Wynne; 10 per cent blame PC Premier Doug Ford; six per cent blame Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; five per cent said “none of the above”; and 35 per cent said “all of the above.”“It’s fair to say there is blame enough to go around,” said Kouvalis, adding that the results suggest there is “not an appetite for partisanship” in tackling the crisis in long-term care.“When it comes to who to blame, nobody stands out except ‘all of the above.’”Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

84% support for mandatory indoor masks to combat COVID-19 in Ontario, poll finds

More than four out of five Ontarians support making it mandatory to wear masks indoors to curb the spread of COVID-19, a new poll for the Star has found.

The Campaign Research survey found that 63 per cent of respondents “strongly support” compulsory indoor masks, while 21 per cent “somewhat support” them. Only six per cent “strongly oppose” masks with eight per cent “somewhat” opposed and the rest unsure.

Campaign Research principal Nick Kouvalis said the overall 84 per cent support is significant five months into a pandemic that has killed more than 2,800 Ontarians, plunged the province into a recession and cost nearly 1.2-million jobs.

“People believe wearing masks inside helps. It’s just not controversial here like it is in the United States,” Kouvalis said Friday.

Indeed, south of the border, sporting a mask is derided in some quarters as a political statement.

But numerous Ontario regions and municipalities — including Toronto, Peel, Halton, York, Durham and Ottawa — have enacted bylaws requiring masks to be worn in indoor public places, such as shops, with little public outcry.

“We are in way better shape in Ontario than in the U.S.,” Kouvalis said, referring to the province’s relatively low count of new cases that contrasts sharply to some American states where the virus is spreading rapidly.

But the poll suggests there is unease now that all of Ontario is in Stage 3 of the economy reopening, meaning bars and restaurants can offer indoor service after being restricted to patio meals and drinks for months.

While 62 per cent agree with the Stage 3 reopening — and 31 per cent disagree and seven per cent were unsure — there is no consensus on allowing indoor hospitality service.

“It’s really split,” said Kouvalis, who has worked with Conservative and Liberal candidates across Canada and managed the winning Toronto mayoral campaigns of John Tory and Rob Ford.

Just 33 per cent agree that indoor and outdoor restaurant and bar service should be allowed, with 38 per cent saying only patios should be permitted and 20 per cent saying all eateries and pubs should have remained closed till the end of August, with nine per cent having no opinion.

That means 58 per cent of respondents are not comfortable with the status quo.

“What I take from that is the government can’t make everybody happy,” said Kouvalis.

Campaign Research polled 1,031 people across Ontario from Monday to Thursday using Maru Blue’s online panel. It is an opt-in poll, but for comparison purposes, a random sample of this size would have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The firm asked how safe people are feeling when they venture out into public spaces.

Only 11 per cent said they feeling “very safe,” with 42 per cent “pretty safe” while 11 per cent feel “not at all safe” and 32 per cent “somewhat unsafe.” Four per cent had no opinion.

Kouvalis said the findings indicate that while Ontarians “want to feel safe,” there is lingering uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus.

With nursing homes accounting for nearly two-thirds of Ontario’s COVID-19 deaths occurring, Campaign Research asked whether the provincial government’s “independent commission” into long-term care would result in reforms.

Opinion was divided, with 41 per cent agreeing it would “help to solve Ontario’s challenges” in long-term care while 31 per cent said it would not and 28 per cent weren’t sure.

The pollster also asked “who do you think bears the most responsibility” for the death toll in nursing homes during the pandemic.

Eleven per cent blame former Progressive Conservative premier Mike Harris, in office from 1995 to 2002; seven per cent blame former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty, in power from 2003 to 2013; eight per cent blame McGuinty’s Liberal successor, premier Kathleen Wynne; 10 per cent blame PC Premier Doug Ford; six per cent blame Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; five per cent said “none of the above”; and 35 per cent said “all of the above.”

“It’s fair to say there is blame enough to go around,” said Kouvalis, adding that the results suggest there is “not an appetite for partisanship” in tackling the crisis in long-term care.

“When it comes to who to blame, nobody stands out except ‘all of the above.’”

Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

Source : Toronto Star More