Survey: Majority of Floridians support closing schools, statewide mask mandate

Coronavirus school reopening concept. A boy student stands in front of school bus wearing a face mask and backpack with stop sign clearly visible.
Republicans were less likely to support mask mandates or school closures.

Floridians still have concerns about COVID-19, and most would like to see public schools closed for fall, survey results from the University of South Florida show. 

USF’s School of Public Affairs released its first set of results from the survey Thursday. The statewide survey measured general opinions in regard to the coronavirus pandemic and related policy issues and was conducted July 30 through Aug. 10. 

Coronavirus concerns are still at the forefront  of most Floridians’ minds with 55% of Floridians believing the worst of COVID-19 is not yet in the rearview, and fewer than 25% believing it is. 

The survey also showed nearly three-quarters of respondents support closing public schools for the fall semester, about 73%, and about 54% indicated they would “strongly support” doing so. 

There is also significant support for a statewide mask mandate with 87% of Floridians supporting the idea including 73% who said they would “strongly support” the measure. 

About 82% of Floridians also believe prevention guidelines emphasized by public health officials, such as social distancing and wearing masks, are effective at slowing the virus’ spread.

The survey also touched on the upcoming election season, showing that 46% of Floridians do not think political candidates should hold any rallies this Fall. Another 42% approve of rallies if they can be held with proper guidelines in place to prevent spread. 

Desire for stronger mitigation strategies goes beyond the political realm, too with 85% of Floridians supporting stricter limits on public gatherings, 66% supporting reclosing bars and restaurants, 63% supporting closing worship centers and 60% supporting closing beaches and public parks. 

The survey also took into account respondents’ political leanings.

The survey found that while the majorities of both Democrats and Republicans supported stronger mitigation efforts, Republicans are more likely to believe the worst of COVID-19 is behind us. Republicans are also less likely to believe public health guidance is effective in mitigation.

It also found Democrats are more supportive of a statewide mask mandate, closing public schools and placing stricter limits on public gatherings.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]


4 comments

  • S.B. Anthony

    August 13, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    But the “governor” doesn’t represent the majority of Floridians. He only
    represents “his people,” the wingnuts and whack jobs who support the “president.”

  • CTB FL

    August 14, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Indeed – our governor seems determined to forge ahead with his foolish, dangerous agenda, despite all evidence pointing in the opposite direction!

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 14, 2020 at 3:37 pm

    Duffus Desantis has stupidly given the trumpvirus the GO! From prisons to in-house care and now our children! Duffus Desantis and cockroach Corcoran have to teach one hour at one school on Monday August 17. I don’t care if it is just the “faculty and staff “! I bet neither one has the courage to do it! Our children will be used by the goptrump death cult to community spread!

  • michelle

    August 15, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    Send them back to school! life must go on. My four kids will be back in school no mask, no fear. This is a political virus more then actual. people die from the flu every year I still will not get a flu shot

Comments are closed.


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