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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Predicting Social Reopening Following COVID-19 Lockdown Using Bounded Rationality and Threshold Models


The exercise of reopening optional social spaces following the COVID-19 lockdowns presents each individual with a complex problem in determining whether or not to attend these spaces given how the risks of virus transmission scale with crowding. In order to tackle this problem while recognizing individual cognitive capacity limits, this paper used a simulation model based on the El Farol Bar Problem and generated a population of agents relying on simple predictive strategies to determine their attendance to a retail location. It was determined that the more heterogeneous the threshold for crowding among agents was, the less variance there was in overall attendance numbers. This stability in daily attendance comes at the expense of the ability of the most cautious members to enjoy recreational spaces as these locations become the realm of only those least concerned with potential crowding.

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