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Another Reason to Wear Masks? It’s Good for Retail and the Economy

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Here’s another reason why most all retailers should require shoppers to wear a mask in their stores, from Walmart to Kohl’s.

According to Goldman Sachs Chief Economist Jan Hatzius, a national mask mandate could potentially substitute lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Business Insider reported that Hatzius estimates that a national mandate could raise the percentage of people who wear masks by 15% and cut the daily growth rate of confirmed cases by 1% to 0.6%. And that could save the U.S. from a 5% hit to gross domestic product that could result from renewed lockdowns.

This is also another reason why retail and food associations should lobby and encourage their members to implement such a measure.

OK, we know that the most important aspect of wearing a mask is to protect lives. But Hatzius is saying that wearing a mask is also good for retail and the economy. It’s simple: If cases continue to decline along with deaths and hospitalizations, consumers are less angst about getting COVID-19. If they are less angst, they will feel more confident in going to restaurants and stores.

“We find that face masks are associated with significantly better coronavirus outcomes,” Hatzius wrote in a note to investors, as reported by Business Insider.

Some states have already mandated mask wearing in public. After analyzing usage in those states, Goldman Sachs found that mandates gradually raised the percentage of people who “always” or “frequently” wear masks by 25% in the 30 days after the mandates were ordered.

Business Insider reported that Hatzius said that even taking into account any uncertainty in Goldman Sachs’ analysis, it “suggests that the economic benefit from a face mask mandate and increased face mask usage could be sizable.”

There’s not much to read in between the lines here, other than mask wearing shouldn’t be and never should’ve been a political issue.

It’s just the right thing to do — to save lives and the economy.

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