Mask mutiny: 60% of UK adults refuse to use face covering at bar, restaurant; 10% wouldn’t wear even if law

LONDON —  They’re uncomfortable, they’re hot, and they can make talking a tad more difficult. There are plenty of reasons people give for disliking their face mask. Yet most still wisely wear them as none of the reasons trump having protection against COVID-19. Despite the health benefits, a new poll out of the United Kingdom finds more adults are getting fed up with face coverings. Some say they won’t wear one even if it becomes law.

A survey of 2,000 British adults reveals six in 10 people refuse to wear face masks in a bar or restaurant, regardless of government health guidelines. A third of the poll believe wearing a mask has become unnecessary and over-the-top. Another 13 percent now call face coverings “pointless.”

“They will take a bit of getting used to, as they can be uncomfortable, particularly if you are a glasses wearer, have a skin condition, or are particularly sensitive,” says Ashley Mealor, a spokesperson from Vision Direct, which commissioned the research, in a statement. “There are lots of reasons why it may be difficult to get the whole of the general public to embrace mask wearing… But as other countries have demonstrated, this may become necessary to fight the pandemic once and for all.”

Face masks face growing opposition

Although 70% of adults will wear a mask while taking public transportation, more people are ditching them in social settings.

The survey finds more than 80 percent don’t plan to wear a face covering while out walking. Three-quarters of adults also say they won’t use one while visiting family and friends.

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The most common places adults are opting to go mask-free are in their cars (89%), on a bike (88%), while exercising (87%), and on a date (84%). Researchers say one in 10 are so against face masks, they’ll still refuse to wear one — even if governments make it the law.

Fogging glasses and covering smiles

The study says people with prescription glasses are four times more likely to not wear a mask during the pandemic. Three in 10 eyeglass wearers say the biggest reason is their covering fogs up their lenses.

Respondents add communication is another big problem, whether it’s verbal or non-verbal. More than half of adults don’t believe they can talk to others properly and they also dislike not seeing each other’s smiles. A quarter of the poll think face masks interfere with flirting and the ability to look attractive.

“There are many reasons why people may be reluctant to give masks a go,” Mealor adds. “The reality is that wearing a mask will limit the facial expressions other people will see – couple that with wearing glasses too, and those people may really struggle to connect with others effectively.”

Despite the discomfort, previous studies find wearing a face mask is the best way to fight a resurgence of coronavirus. According to the World Health Organization, there have been nearly 13 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 during the pandemic.

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