As parts of the U.S. slowly but surely reopen, many states are still imposing strict restrictions on their citizenry, restrictions that are often not grounded in science or data.
Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has ordered beaches in his state closed, despite evidence that shows the virus is extremely low risk for outdoor transmission. A study of 318 outbreaks in China found a total of two cases that occurred as a result of outdoor transmission. Studies have also shown that the virus cannot survive in the sunlight, with the White House coronavirus task force preparing for a “summer respite” from the virus. Yet, Northam is far from the only governor to ignore the science when it comes to regulating outdoor activities. (RELATED: America Is Reopening, Whether Politicians Like It Or Not)
Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom attempted to close all beaches and state parks, before relenting following a massive backlash that included large protests and threats of disobedience. Police even arrested a solo paddleboarder in Malibu. Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker also closed outdoor activities in his state, including golfing, before backing down following threats from golf course owners in the state to reopen without his permission. Other largely safe and isolated outdoor activities such as boating have been banned throughout the country, but are beginning to come back. Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced last week that golfing and boating would be allowed to come back in his state.
Some of the harshest coronavirus restrictions came from Michigan, where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer cracked down on the sale of fruit and vegetable seeds at local grocery stores. She also prohibited the sale of other items deemed “non-essential,” including furniture, meaning that stores that were allowed to continue to operate had to tape off certain sections of their stores that contained items deemed non-essential. Whitmer’s stringent orders even went as far as to prohibit people from traveling within the state to visit friends and family. Following mass protests and national backlash, Whitmer reversed many of these orders, although her state remains under a stay at home order until the end of the month. (RELATED: ‘No Penalty For Petty Authoritarianism’ : Tucker Carlson Blasts ‘Mediocre Politician’ Gretchen Whitmer’s ‘Power’ Grabs)
Across the country, politicians have implemented rules that are not based in science or data. These include isolated outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, golfing, and boating that are extremely low risk. Many of these restrictions have been lifted following backlash that reached as high as the White House. As more science and data are released, will politicians adjust their approach accordingly? Or, will they simply double down on shutdowns?