By tradition, this is a time to gather, to join crowds shopping, to go to church. Some people are either ignoring or dismissing pleas to forego these traditions for public safety. Researchers tell us it has to do with religious and secular rituals.
RELATED: San Jose church continues defying COVID-19 orders with plans for an indoor Christmas Eve service
"When peoples' rituals are altered, they respond with moral outrage, they feel angry, they judge the alteration to be wrong, and we find that this moral outrage persists, even when you have a good reason for altering the ritual," said Daniel Stein, a researcher and Ph.D. candidate at the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley.
Stein and other researchers from Cal and Harvard spoke with 3,000 people. They believe the behavior we saw at Thanksgiving and now at Christmas has to do with deep-seated values. Gathering at Thanksgiving is an expression of gratitude. Christmas gift-giving is a symbol of love. Changing behavior can be difficult, even when public safety is at stake.
There was an outcry in 1939 when President Franklin Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving up a week to create more time to shop for Christmas. Complaints arise when the dates for daylight saving time are changed. People want to punish those who alter rituals.
For a better experience, click here to view the full map in a new window
"In one of our experiments," said Stein. "We found that people wanted the person who altered the ritual to do activities such as clean the floor, or assigned them to do undesirable activities, such as scrub the toilet."
So the researchers think public officials need to change their messaging to focus more on how distancing and staying home for the holidays are in line with the value system many people embrace.
RELATED: San Jose church repeatedly fined for defying health order received $340K in taxpayer money
"Christian values of being generous, kind, unselfish to others, to rephrase social distancing as a way to celebrate that Christian value to be generous to others to be kind to others could be a way to get individuals to follow the regulations," said Stein.
On a scale of one to seven, seven being the highest, survey participants ranked their moral outrage to changes in Christmas and New Year's rituals at five.
If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- From COVID-19 to Black Lives Matter, these 13 people defined the Bay Area in 2020
- Map: CA counties that can, can't reopen under new rules
- CALCULATOR: Find out how many people may get a COVID-19 vaccine before you
- VIDEO: When will I get the COVID-19 vaccine? We explain who goes 1st
- COVID-19 risk calculator: The safest and most dangerous things to do this holiday season
- Want to get a COVID-19 test in time for the holidays? Here's what you need to know
- Updated number of COVID-19 deaths, cases in Bay Area
- Map shows everywhere you can get a COVID-19 test in the Bay Area
- COVID-19 Diaries: Personal stories of Bay Area residents during pandemic
- California EDD: The most commonly asked questions we get about unemployment and PUA
- Health experts urge flu shots in effort to avoid 'twindemic'
- How to tell the difference between seasonal allergies and coronavirus symptoms
- Here's which mask is better to protect from COVID-19
- First COVID-19 vaccine volunteers in US describe experience as Bay Area launches vaccine trials
- Coronavirus origin: Where did COVID-19 come from?
- What is a COVID-19 genetic, antigen and antibody test?
- What will it take to get a COVID-19 vaccine and how will it be made?
- What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?
- Here's how shelter in place, stay at home orders can slow spread of COVID-19
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area
- Coronavirus Doctor's Note: Dr. Alok Patel gives his insight into COVID-19 pandemic