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Survey suggests over half of Suffolk residents are continuing to wear face mask in indoor public settings

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More than 50 per cent of people in Suffolk are continuing to wear face masks in indoor public places all the time, according to a new survey.

But more than half of those who haven’t say it is because it is no longer a mandatory requirement.

BMG Research has conducted a fourth survey across Suffolk since the pandemic began, ascertaining Covid-19 behaviour to help inform pandemic response messaging and campaigns.

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL
Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

The latest survey – carried out online between September 21 and October 3 incorporating 582 respondents – found that 55 per cent of respondents were wearing masks indoors in public places all of the time, with a further 21 per cent most of the time.

11 per cent said they did it sometimes, seven per cent rarely and five per cent never.

But for those who responded sometimes, rarely or never, the top reason why was because it is no longer a requirement, accounting for 58 per cent.

It comes at a time when calls are ramping up on the Government to bring in Plan B measures which would require mandatory face masks in shops once again.

Elsewhere, the survey found 50 per cent were testing regularly – up from 43 per cent at the last survey over 10 days in July, while 67 per cent of people continued to socially distance around others outside their household all or most of the time.

When asked if they would take up the offer of a booster jab, 79 per cent of respondents said they would.

However, more than a quarter of people (28 per cent) said they did not feel comfortable in public places since restrictions have been lifted.

Public Health Suffolk director Stuart Keeble urged people to continue being responsible.

“These figures show yet again that when it comes to the fight against COVID-19, Suffolk gets it,” he said.

“There are many things we can all do to reduce the spread and it’s clear that every act or decision, however small, makes a difference.

“What’s important now, as we move into the winter, is that we think about what we can all do to keep Covid at bay so that it doesn’t ruin another Christmas. It’s worth it in the long run.”

Other questions asked found that 19 per cent of respondents were working at home most or all of the time still, 13 per cent occasionally and 68 per cent not at all.

That compares to 82 per cent who didn’t work from home at all prior to the pandemic, indicating that some had still not returned to their offices or workplaces.

High case numbers in Suffolk – in particular in Ipswich – has led to widespread debate over what should happen next.

Public Health Suffolk last week urged schools to re-introduce face masks, while hospital visits will be suspended from tomorrow in the county to curb the spread of infection.

Case rates as of Sunday was 482.9 per 100,000 people in the county, although Ipswich was as high as 831 people per 100,000.

Read more: All the latest news from Suffolk