Some may have anxiety around COVID-19 as capacity limits get lifted

Posted at 6:43 AM, Jun 01, 2021

Michigan now has loosened COVID-19 restrictions with outdoor capacity limits gone, indoor capacity limits at 50%, social gatherings now regulated by the venue and no curfew for bars and restaurants.

In just one month on July 1, all restrictions will end as the state lifts the face masks and gatherings order.

While the relaxed rules bring a sigh of relief to many, some may still feel anxious about the rules.

One man who lost his dad to COVID-19 said he's never really afraid of death himself, but he's afraid of not living, and he's ready for life to return to normal.

"I'm mostly looking forward to seeing people again. Seeing people, seeing family," Tarence Willis said.

"Everybody's been locked. People need to learn how to get out and interact with each other. They've been locked up for so long. Even driving down the road, people don't know how to gel with each other," Kerry Witt added.

By and large, people say they're ready to take the next step toward a post-pandemic society, but some are still fearful.

"The American Psychological Association reported that 49% of Americans feel anxious about returning to in-person interaction," Salvatore Russo, the clinical supervisor at Ascension Behavioral Health, said.

He said that anxiety can exist for many reasons as it relates to the pandemic.

"Of course, there's the fear of the virus itself, the fear of death and isolation. But we're also seeing fears of just returning to the workplace and what that might look like for you," he said. "Maybe you have to juggle being at work and caring for your children, maybe you have to care for an elderly person in your family and you're concerned about passing the virus to them."

Russo said employers can make themselves available to see if there's anything they can do to alleviate concerns.

In other situations, you can talk to a family member or friend about your anxieties.

If feelings persist, Russo suggests talking to a professional like a counselor or your doctor, or slowly expose yourself to what makes you anxious.

"We don't have to put ourselves in the spot of, 'I'm going to take my mask off and go running to the grocery store,'," Russo said. "We might start small and say, 'Well, let me go to the grocery store at a less busy time with my mask on and just see what's that's like.' So, stepping into these roles in smaller, more manageable chunks might be easier for your anxiety."