Are people likely to go back to a pre-COVID lifestyle or stick with precautions?

A local Sociology professor discusses the mask mandate

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - One week from today, Governor Ivey’s Mask mandate will expire, leaving many with the personal decision to mask up or not.

Local experts say many are suffering from “COVID fatigue” and are ready to leave the pandemic behind them, but others are still on high alert.

Dr. Christina Steidl, Associate Sociology Professor at UAH, says the deciding factor to continue to take precautions or fully go back to a pre-COVID lifestyle is based on our social network.

Dr. Steidl says individuals don’t act in a vacuum and groups tend to form around likeness.

We check our behaviors with the people around us so we know “what is normal”.

So, the decision to continue to take precautions or not will likely be decided on what others around you do.

Steidl says that when it comes down to decisions like this we often forget how our environmental structures affect our opinions.

She says this can also stem from more than just your personal relationships.

“The COVID response has become so politicized, right,” says Steidl.

“So, whether to wear a mask, how to wear a mask…there is a lot of pressure for individuals, not just from others in your group that are saying, ‘why weren’t you wearing a mask’ or ‘why were you wearing a mask’, but also there is pressure to represent or uphold the political group.”

Steidl says that with all the pressure to please, individuals are now not making the best decisions for themselves, but having to navigate another layer of coercion.

She says the government regulations should be freeing to an extent and people can make their own choices shame-free.

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