Chamber shares business leaders’ views on mask mandate

The Chamber had 241 members complete the survey, sharing their views on the city's mask mandate.
Shopper wearing mask

The data was collected via an anonymous, online survey, and results were shared with member businesses and the Edmond City Council before the July 27 meeting.

In July, The Edmond City Council enacted a limited-time mask requirement for businesses, and thanks to the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce, business leaders’ views on the mandate are now known. More than half of businesses had already required employees to wear a mask, but less than half required visitors to wear one. In addition, more business leaders supported than opposed the mask requirement.

The Chamber created and emailed the anonymous online survey to member business leaders. Only one representative from each business was asked to complete the survey. The Chamber had 241 members complete the survey, and the results were emailed to members on July 23.

The Chamber noted that for questions that used check boxes, the total number of answer choices selected could be greater than the number of respondents that answered the questions. That caused the total response percentages of some questions to exceed 100%. Survey participants represented almost every business sector, including healthcare, restaurants, information technology, telecommunication services, energy, real estate and financial services. Below is a breakdown of the results.

Size of businesses by number of employees

Most respondents, 54%, had between 1-10 employees at their business. Only 13% had 100 or more employees.

Businesses with remote workers

Among respondents, 42% of businesses had at least one employee working remotely, while 58% had no employees working remotely.

Businesses that require masks for employees

Regarding masks for employees, 52% of businesses required it, 33% did not, and 3% were considering it. However, this question provided a fourth option, “Other,” that 21% of participants also selected. The majority of those responses were explanations of those businesses’ employee mask policies. Most explained that employees were only required to wear a mask when there was a guest in the building or when employees had to visit other businesses.

Businesses that require masks for visitors

Regarding masks for people who are not employees, 42% of businesses required masks for customers, existing clients, and visitors who were not customers. An almost identical number, 43%, did not, and 5% were considering it. Again, this question offered an “Other” option, and 18% wrote that they encouraged, but did not require all visitors to wear a mask.

Businesses that support a mask mandate

In addition, 49% of respondents supported a mask mandate, 38% did not, and 4% were undecided. An additional 8% of business owners said they have businesses in OKC, which already required them to implement a mask mandate.

Businesses that oppose a mask mandate

The survey also asked a follow-up question to business leaders opposed to a mask mandate. The question, which was only answered by 56% of respondents, asked in what circumstance would the person support the mandate. Among those respondents, 32% (44 businesses) said they simply would not support a mandate. However, 48% (65 businesses) said they would do so to ensure that businesses stay open, while a combined 33% said they would do so if there was a substantial increase in positive cases in Edmond, Oklahoma County, or the state.

Sherry Jordan, president and CEO of the Edmond Area Chamber, sent the survey results to city leaders before the July 27 Edmond City Council meeting. She encouraged members who have additional questions about the mask mandate to contact the Council.

About the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce

The Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce seeks to enhance economic opportunity and quality of life in Edmond. The nonprofit organization’s values are professionalism, integrity, teamwork, innovation, responsive customer service, and trust. To learn more, visit www.edmondchamber.com.

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About Josh Watson

Josh Watson is a freelance writer, public relations consultant, and tenured associate professor of communication at Oklahoma Christian University. He advises OC’s student-run PR firm, Eagle PR, and the university’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter. Previously, he worked on award-winning state and national campaigns at McNeely Pigott & Fox in Nashville, one of the nation's top independent PR firms. Dr. Watson has helped his students earn numerous awards and recognitions, especially in national campaign competitions. His wife, Chara, teaches speech and theater at Oklahoma Christian Academy, where their four children attend.