Mixed messages during the coronavirus pandemic can cloud people’s judgement, experts say

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DENVER (KDVR) — In Colorado and across the country, there are mixed messages about what to do during the coronavirus pandemic and experts say that can cloud people’s judgement.

“One of the toughest things about the risk management is getting competing messages,” said Burton St. John, a professor of advertising, public relations and media design at the University of Colorado Boulder and an expert at crisis management.

The competing messages vary at different levels of government and various locations nationwide.

In Colorado, Weld County opened its buildings this week. But Greeley, the most populous city in the county, plans to keep its facilities closed for another month.

“When we get to the national level, we have all the different states trying to articulate what’s the risk vs. the reward,” St. John said.

Florida has opened beaches. Georgia has opened restaurants to in-person dining. Texas has opened movie theaters.

But Colorado has kept most of its mountain communities, restaurants and other entertainment venues closed.

Ultimately, state and local leaders will decide if the risk of the coronavirus and reopening some businesses is worth the reward of helping the economy and getting people back to work.

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