Document Type




Publication Date



Public Library of Science

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PLoS One

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Masks are an effective tool in combatting the spread of COVID-19, but some people still resist wearing them and mask-wearing behavior has not been experimentally studied in the United States. To understand the demographics of mask wearers and resistors, and the impact of mandates on mask-wearing behavior, we observed shoppers (n = 9935) entering retail stores during periods of June, July, and August 2020. Approximately 41% of the June sample wore a mask. At that time, the odds of an individual wearing a mask increased significantly with age and was also 1.5x greater for females than males. Additionally, the odds of observing a mask on an urban or suburban shopper were ~4x that for rural areas. Mask mandates enacted in late July and August increased mask-wearing compliance to over 90% in all groups, but a small percentage of resistors remained. Thus, gender, age, and location factor into whether shoppers in the United States wear a mask or face covering voluntarily. Additionally, mask mandates are necessary to increase mask wearing among the public to a level required to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.


Published version. PLoS One, Vol. 15, No. 10 (October 2020): e0240785. DOI. © 2020 2020 Haischer et al. published by Public Library of Science.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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