Montana Gov. Steve Bullock similarly permitted bars, restaurants, and casinos across the entire state to reopen starting May 4—if they close no later than 11:30 p.m. Bullock’s mandate allots more time for revelry than Brown’s does, but it might be more nonsensical, considering that Bullock’s sparsely populated state has recorded only 458 cases of COVID-19 and is meeting the adequate testing thresholds.
Business curfews amount mostly to an attempt to “do something,” even if that something flouts science and common sense. Brown and Bullock aren’t alone in that. Gov. Gavin Newsom shuttered beaches in Orange County, California, for instance, after some photos seemed to show the area crawling with sun-drunk beachgoers. That decision contradicts the wealth of infectious disease experts who say that such outdoor spaces are adequately safe—and beneficial to our mental health—if social distancing guidelines are enforced.