TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – Floridians believe a statewide mask mandate would be beneficial, according to a new survey from the University of South Florida.

Researchers with USF’s School of Public Affairs conducted a statewide survey of 600 Floridians between July 30 and Aug. 10 to measure emergency preparedness, as well as general opinions regarding the COVID-19 public health crisis and related policy issues.

Responses came from across the state. Here’s where those surveyed, lived:

  • Northeast Florida-14%
  • Tampa Bay Metro-17%
  • Southwest Florida-11%
  • Orlando/Daytona-18%
  • Palm Beach/Treasure Coast-10%
  • Southeast Florida-23%
  • Northwest Florida-7%

An overwhelming majority of those surveyed, 83%, said they would support a statewide mask mandate, with 73% indicating that they would “Strongly Support” it.

Among the initial findings of the survey, 83% of respondents believe that prevention guidelines encouraged by public health officials, such as wearing a mask in public and practicing social distancing, are effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

As the school year approaches, another hot topic for debate was having children return to classrooms for the fall semester. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said that they would support a statewide decision to remain out of the classroom for fall, with 54% responding that they would “strongly support” doing do.

So far, Florida has had 557,137 cases of coronavirus and counting, including 32,537 hospitalizations and more than 9,000 deaths.