Andrew Markert holds the coronavirus in high regard. It has harmed his business, Beuchert’s Saloon in Washington, D.C., forcing him to close, relocate, and adjust in a variety of ways.

But, come what may in the next round of the pandemic, the time has come for him to move forward and stick to his plans. And he’s betting there are a lot of people who think the same way he does.

As a result, Markert intends to open not one, but two new restaurants in the coming months: Fight Club, a few doors down from Beuchert’s, in February, and the upscale Newland, around the corner, in April.

As workers scraped and primed Fight Club’s interior last week, he said, “I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re at the end of it,” “I’m mentally over it, but physically still cautious.”

Some parts of the US population have decided to simply live with the coronavirus and move on, exhausted, frustrated, and frazzled by five surges in two years. And, despite having a triple-shot of vaccine on board – or protection from prior infection – and case numbers plummeting, polls show that their numbers are rising.

The Atlantic declared some of them “Vaxxed and done,” last month, and Time magazine is exploring “How Covid Ends,” this week, with a hopeful portrait of the spiky red virus fading to black on the cover.

Mask requirements are being phased out in some municipalities and schools. In the short-lived glow of the vaccine rollout, elected officials no longer even talk about conquering the virus, as President Biden did just seven months ago. Last week at the White House, a bipartisan group of governors told Biden that it is time to “move away from the pandemic,” as Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson put it.

Hutchinson told reporters, “People are striving for more normal life,”

Joe Inglish, 30, from Seattle, isn’t throwing caution to the wind. He’s still avoiding indoor dining and keeping unmasked indoor gatherings with friends to a minimum, he said. Inglish was ready to resume attending the concerts he had missed since the pandemic began as soon as he was vaccinated in March.

Inglish went to 27 shows in 2019 and none in 2020, indicating a significant change in his lifestyle. Returning could put him in danger of contracting covid-19. He said he feels relatively protected with a KN95 mask, and he’s no longer willing to give up something so important to him.

“Given all the other precautions I’ve taken,” he explained, “I’m allowing myself this one minor risk.”

According to a January Monmouth poll, 28% of Americans believe the country will “never” be able to control the outbreak and return to normal, up from 9% in March 2021.

According to a poll conducted by Axios/Ipsos around the same time, 61 percent believe the vaccine allowed them to return to their pre-covid routine. In addition, according to a KFF poll, 77 percent of Americans believe that most people will inevitably develop covid-19, a sentiment that cuts across party lines.

As CNN’s Ariel Edwards-Levy, a polling and elections analytics editor, has pointed out, polling during a pandemic is volatile because it tends to reflect the current state of the pandemic. Experts, on the other hand, say we shouldn’t be surprised if these sentiments continue to grow.

Most people dislike uncertainty, according to Maurice Schweitzer, a behavioral scientist and professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and the past two years have proven this. Many people are exhausted to the point of exhaustion.

“We’d like to be done,” Schweitzer expressed his desire. “The issue is that it’s a virus. It isn’t getting old.”

People understand that “if I keep waiting for the right time, it would be a long wait,” as Schweitzer put it. “If you’re starting a business or starting a family . . . you might think, ‘Well let’s do it now, let’s move forward.'” Others have been here for a long time.

We’ve been here before, of course. Quite a few times.

“While the virus has not been eradicated, we do know that it no longer has control over our lives. Our country is no longer paralyzed by it. And it is within our power to ensure that it does not happen again “On July 4, Biden stated.

“It’s going to vanish. It will vanish one day – it’ll be a miracle – “On February 27, 2020, President Donald Trump stated. “And we, from our shores, know that things could get worse before they get better. It’s possible that it’ll go away. We’ll have to wait and see what happens. Nobody knows for sure.”

Today, we know that predictions of the virus’s demise have always been wrong. The majority of experts have given up. We’re only one variant away from starting all over again.

Despite the fact that case numbers are declining, they remain at staggering, all-time highs for the pandemic – a seven-day average of over 300,000 on Sunday, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. Every other wave’s death toll has surpassed that of the current one, with the exception of last winter’s. The death toll in the United States has surpassed 900,000.

Only 64% of the population in the United States is fully vaccinated, and the percentage of people who have received booster shots is even lower. Vaccinations for children under the age of five are currently unavailable, though they may be available by the end of the month.

People are more worried about infection during the omicron surge than they were during previous waves, according to the same polls that show people are exhausted by the pandemic.

Those who argue that it’s time to get back to normal perplex Kim Hauriel of Naples, Fla. Even after being vaccinated two years into the pandemic, the 51-year-old, her husband, and their children are still wary of covid.

They haven’t gone out to eat because even outdoor dining poses too much of a risk. They stay away from crowds of any size. They also always wear masks, with Hauriel and her husband wearing N95s and the kids wearing KF94s.

“It’s not difficult to lift your pinkie finger and put on a mask,” she said. “Be a little safer, avoid unnecessary gatherings, or have them more safely outdoors, still masked.” “It’s difficult to understand what you’re saying. I’m not going down without a fight.”

Hauriel is concerned about the risk of long covid and the possibility of the virus spreading to the vulnerable. She also doesn’t want to occupy a hospital bed “just for being careless.”

It will be even more difficult to reverse course if another surge occurs once people have moved on. Colorado Medical Society President Mark Johnson pushed back when Democrat Gov. Jared Polis said in December that “the emergency is over,” because vaccines are widely available.

“I think the governor speaks for probably 70 percent of people who say, ‘I’m through with this.'” However, hospitals are still seeing a large number of patients, and while most chose not to be vaccinated, health-care workers “don’t have that luxury of saying, ‘It’s your own fault; let’s move on,” he said on Thursday.

People react to the pandemic’s stress in different ways, according to Todd Farchione, a clinical psychologist and associate professor at Boston University. Restrictions and mandates may provide comfort to some, while others may be “done” with the pandemic, he said.

He added, “Then there’s everything in between,” “‘what are the real risks here relative to what’s important to me in my life, and what I need in terms of caring for and being there for friends and family, being part of life?” a person might consider in any risk assessment.

Markert took a step forward by chance last year, when two new restaurant spaces unexpectedly opened just a few steps from Beuchert’s. He had no intention of expanding in the midst of an unpredictably deadly pandemic. But he didn’t want the prolonged upheaval to get in the way of his plans.

“What it comes down to is opportunity,” he explained. “It’s not every day that you get the chance to open a restaurant four or five doors down from your current one… And, obviously, omicron wasn’t even a thing when we started down this road. The number of cases was decreasing. The Delta variant was not very common in the area.”

“Just sort of exhausted by it,” said Bart Hutchins, chef and co-owner of Fight Club, “and hoping that we’re at the tail end of it.”

Before the omicron wave, some workplaces were encouraging employees to return to pre-pandemic in-office work schedules, according to Kevin Volpp, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics.

“It’s a little bit like riding a roller coaster and everyone is wondering: Are we going to be going up or are we going to be going down?,” Volpp said. “At least temporarily, Omicron threw everything out the window. However, things are beginning to normalize, and people are making plans again.”

Current conditions are “leading to an opening up again in a way that I think will probably continue to evolve steadily in the coming weeks,” he said, unless a new variant arrives. “I believe that people have been collectively carrying a huge burden of concern about covid, which has impacted their lives and performance in a variety of ways. That has worn people out to the point of exhaustion.”