Public Responses to Policy Reversals: The Case of Mask Usage in Canada during COVID-19
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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has resulted in rapid, substantial, and at times contradictory policy changes as public health agencies and government officials react to new information. We examine the implications of such changes for public compliance by drawing on the case of revised guidance on mask usage by asymptomatic individuals. As official recommendations on the use of masks in Canada shift from discouraged to mandatory, we draw on findings from an ongoing public opinion study to explore contemporaneous changes in rates of mask adoption and levels of public trust in government institutions. We find that Canadians exhibit high levels of compliance with changing policies on mask usage and that trust in public health officials remains consistent despite policy change.
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