In communities with mask mandates, consumer spending increased by 5% on average, research finds.

The economy and coronavirus pandemic were two of the top issues for voters in the 2020 election, according to exit poll surveys. Notably, 52% of voters said controlling the pandemic was more important, even if it hurts the economy. But what if we didn’t have to choose?

The findings show that a safety rule can stimulate economic growth as well.

Researchers from the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis found the effect was greatest among non-essential businesses, including those in the retail and entertainment industries—such as restaurants and bars—that were hit hard by the pandemic.

“The findings exceeded our expectations and show that we can have a strong economy with strong, commonsense public-health measures. Mask mandates are a win-win,” says Raphael Thomadsen, professor of marketing and study coauthor.

Read the full article about mask mandates by Sara Savat at Futurity.