Experts predict Covid vaccination honor system could result in some masking truth

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 12:27 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -The CDC’s announcement giving fully vaccinated people the green light to ditch the mask assumes most Americans will be truthful about vaccine status.

In Dane County, on June 2 the mask mandate is lifted. However, businesses still have the authority to require masks in their building.

Some business owners told NBC15 they don’t want to depend on the honor system to make sure unvaccinated people are masked.

Others are comfortable dropping the requirement.

“I’m trusting what the officials are telling us to do,” Nicki Prestiagiacomo, Grape Water Wine Bar owner said.

Masks and wine glasses go hand in hand at the Grape Water Wine bar in Middleton.

“We want people to feel comfortable. They know whether or not they have been vaccinated,” she said.

But at the beginning of June, Prestiagiacomo will follow suit with Dane County public health. She said wearing a mask in her business will be optional, not required.

“There are places that are saying you have to be vaccinated to come in. I’m not going to do that,” she said.

Other businesses are depending on patrons to mask up, if they did not get the covid shot, putting the honor system to the test.

“Some tend to follow the honor system, while others don’t,” Dominique Brossard, UW-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communications Chair and Professor said.

She said people are faced with honor system tests daily. For example, obeying traffic laws.

“When we get to a stoplight, we know we don’t expect people to run us over. Although we know that there may not be policemen everywhere,” she said.

Brossard said humans lie based off incentive. The lower the risk, the more likely people are to twist the truth.

“It’s a cost benefit analysis. What do you gain by lying? What do you gain by following the rules?” she said.

She explained the pandemic hindered people’s ability to trust in many ways. But she’s optimistic people will honor the honor system.

“These are weird times and usually we tend to trust each other much more and it’s unfortunate that there isn’t as much here,” she said. “I’m cautiously optimistic. I think people want to move forward and do what’s best for the community.”

Large corporations like Target, Walmart and Starbucks are recommending unvaccinated people wear a mask. As of now, there’s no consequence if you don’t, and they are not checking for vaccine verification.

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