Retirement-Age Americans Not Ready to Give Up the Mask

Twelve percent say they’ll never go maskless in public, and 28% report they will never be comfortable going back to the workplace.

More than one-third (36%) of Americans age 65 and older aren’t comfortable taking off their masks in public until 2022 or later, and more than one in 10 (12%) say they’ll never remove their masks, a survey finds.

Retirement-age Americans feel comfortable doing some activities now; nearly half say they feel comfortable traveling by car (49%) and doing outdoor activities (48%). One-third (34%) report they feel comfortable going back to the workplace now. However, more than one-quarter (28%) say they will never be comfortable going back to the workplace.

Activities survey respondents are least comfortable resuming now include:

  • Enjoying live entertainment (14%);
  • Not wearing a mask in public (15%);
  • Traveling by plane, train or bus (16%);
  • Working out in a gym (17%); and
  • Attending a family gathering of more than 10 (27%).

The survey found regional differences in the comfort levels of Americans age 65 and older. Seventeen percent of residents in South Atlantic states—including the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida—are already comfortable not wearing a mask in public. That compares to only 12% of respondents in Pacific states such as California and Washington, and 14% of respondents in West South Central states such as Texas and Louisiana.

Twenty-one percent of South Atlantic residents, also encompassing Virginia and Maryland, are already comfortable traveling by plane, train or bus, but the same is true for only 15% of folks in Pacific states—which also include Oregon, Hawaii and Alaska—and 14% in the West South Central region.

MedicareGuide fielded the survey of 500 Americans age 65 and older in late April.