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Susan Joslyn is quoted in this HealthDay article about reopening readiness.

States Begin to Reopen During COVID Crisis, but Not Everyone Feels Ready

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 14, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Virginia resident John Imbur doesn't plan to sit down for a meal in a diner anytime soon, even if his state reopens for business after its stay-at-home order lifts on June 10.

"I don't feel comfortable going into places where there are going to be a group of people, particularly if they're unmasked," said Imbur, 50, a tech support worker in Blacksburg. "With a restaurant, no one's going to have their mask on because they're eating."

States plunging ahead with plans to reopen economies shut down over COVID-19 are encountering opposition from an unexpected quarter -- their own citizens.

Surveys show that a majority of people remain uncomfortable about entering stores, restaurants and other businesses that closed in an attempt to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

That's because people are walking risk calculators, constantly weighing the information on hand to judge their personal safety in a variety of situations, said Susan Joslyn, an associate professor of psychology with the University of Washington who researches risk perception and decision-making.

"They know there's uncertainty even if you don't tell them, and they know that risk varies," Joslyn said. "They try to estimate it. They try and figure it out."

About 78% of Americans agree with Imbur that they'd be uncomfortable eating out at a restaurant, according to results from a recent Washington Post-University of Maryland national poll. Two-thirds (67%) say they would be uncomfortable going into a retail clothing store, and 44% remain uncomfortable shopping for groceries, the poll showed.

In addition, two-thirds of Americans say that gatherings of 10 people or more likely won't be safe until July or later, versus 32% who believe such get-togethers will be safe by the end of June, poll results indicate.

Joslyn compares these opinions to the way people use weather forecasts in their daily lives. Average folks don't need to understand probability theory to use a forecast to decide whether or not to carry an umbrella.

"That number gives them an estimate of their risk," Joslyn said. "They have a practical understanding of it, rather than a theoretical understanding of it."

Read the entire article here.