Not only is mask-wearing shown to help slow the spread of COVID-19, but a report released by the University of Utah’s Eccles School of Business on Monday shows how mask mandates can positively impact the economy.
“We come to you with some good news to share. We've always known for months that wearing masks is quite helpful to the health of our community. Today, we also can report on some findings that suggest that mask-wearing is also good for our economy. Now that's a pretty big deal because we've got to find a way to bridge the health of our economy between now and when vaccines are widely distributed,” said Taylor Randall, Dean of the Eccles School of Business and economic lead at the state’s unified command.
In a press conference with Gov. Gary Herbert on Monday, Randall said according to the data, wearing masks seems to create a “triple play.”
“It reduces COVID spread in our communities, but it all so increases consumer mobility in stores and restaurants and also increases consumer spending,” Randall said.
Randall said the researchers looked at all 3,142 counties in the United States and the mask orders these counties did or did not have.
“COVID-19 cases decrease after these mass orders are put in place,” he said. “Second, the combination of low case counts and mask requirements actually increase consumer activity in the economy. And we see that in two measures. First, we see the consumer mobility increases as they visit more stores. And second, we also see that spending increases in these counties.”
Randall said the final and most important finding was that state mandates are key to increasing economic strength and that county mandates are not nearly as effective. According to Randall, this means that health and economics go hand in hand and that mask-wearing is at the core of this relationship.