Number of the Day Shows Surprising Impact of Face Masks

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Number of the Day

That’s how many percentage points consumer spending increases when facial mask mandates are implemented at businesses, according to a new study.

Not only do consumers want to see employees wearing masks in order to feel safe, but mask mandates tend to reduce social distancing (perhaps due to a feeling of safety,) which magnifies the positive effect on spending, a study released this month by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis showed. Non-essential businesses in sectors such as clothing, arts, and recreation benefit the most from mask mandates, the study said.

“Mask policies are strongly pro-business,” the researchers wrote. Their analysis assessed a variety of data sources, including cellphone GPS location information, credit and debit card purchases, county-level facial mask mandate information, and Census data, among others.


Consumer spending helped drive a record 33.1% expansion in third-quarter GDP after pandemic lockdowns in the second quarter fueled a staggering contraction.

Article Sources

  1. Washington University in St. Louis. "The Impact of Social Distancing and Masking on COVID-19 Spread and Consumer Spending." Accessed Nov. 10, 2020.