The new measures surrounding the déconfinement follow one another at a sustained pace for a few weeks and may cause confusion in the population.
June 15, 2020
Updated on June 16, 2020 to 4h17
Measures déconfinement: attention to the confusion
Distancing physical of 1 metre, 1.5 metre, 2 metres, depending on the circumstances. Bubbles of four to six children without distancing. Gatherings interiors of 50 people allowed, but only in public places, not in homes, cottages and outer courtyards, where it’s always 10 people, three addresses maximum. The new measures surrounding the déconfinement follow one another at a sustained pace for a few weeks and may, at least in appearance, to lack consistency and cause confusion in the population, warns a specialist in political communication.
“It is on that it brings an effect of questioning : what you need to do now, what he should not do, how is it that one day, he had to do such a thing and the next it is something else. […] A week, the acupuncturist, and acupunctrices, for example, must change their lab coat and in between each client, but the week after, this is no longer the case, why?” illustrates, in the interview, Mireille Lalancette, specialist in political communication at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières and a researcher with the research Group in political communication at Université Laval.
The risk, when one multiplies or modifies the action to a pace, it is to sow confusion and “losing” the population, according to Ms. Lalancette.
“People can lose tips. It is not everyone who watches the press briefings, or who follows the news as religiously as before […]. There is also the question of the consistency of measures, which can create confusion. In crisis communication, it is : consistency, consistency, clear message, simple. And there, suddenly, the message becomes complicated, and people are asking questions,” she noted.
The authorities might have had to “ventilate a little” between the ads, “because here, it goes very quickly,” says Mireille Lalancette.
“We go to gatherings of 10 to 50 people, but only in public places, not in individuals. It can cause confusion. People can say : I can do a party for 50 people at home, I have a large yard. There is a beautiful communication challenge, a beautiful challenge of understanding and a nice challenge compared to the impatience of the population. It is necessary to know how to manage the impatience of the population, while déconfinant”, summarizes the specialist in political communication, which emphasizes that “the measurement of 50 people, it is for déconfiner the economy, not the private lives of people”.
“This is not a point of view of public health, it is an economic point of view. And the one and the other combine not necessarily perfectly,” she notes.
Ms. Lalancette recalls that “the people have not breathed for three months, have not seen their family, their friends, and all of it is mixed with the return of good time”. Succeed in making them adopt new behaviors, “it is long, and they need to understand why.”
“The déconfinement is happening at great speed, it gives a bit the impression that all this nightmare is finished. There was less of a death also, you are under the impression that the virus is present […]. The invisibility of the virus, the question of the droplets, it is not clear to everyone”, still see the specialist, who has noticed a certain laxity in respect of the instructions during his visit to Quebec, there’s a little more than a week.
“I went to the Big Market, and I was amazed to see how people did not respect the distance and physical that very few people wore the mask,” says Ms. Lalancette, who believes that the public health should have been from the outset a clear position on the mask-wearing in public spaces restricted.
“It has not been the case, the authorities have for a long time “what ifs” [ … ]. It would have been necessary from the beginning to say : you will have to wear masks, there are plenty of people who produce it, you can even make it a home, it is important to wear one when you are in a limited public space”, she says.
According to Mireille Lalancette, we can’t always wait for “the perfect science” before recommending a measure. She cites the case of asian countries where the wearing of the mask is widespread, and that “did very well”.
Yes, the authorities are trying to show a good example by wearing the mask during press briefings, “but they might have had to do in the beginning,” believes Ms. Lalancette.