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A few weeks ago, I wrote a post noting how local Montanans were done wearing masks. It turns out that I was not the only one who noticed the casual stance toward the mask mandate; it seems that our governor did as well. In response, he has taken steps to pressure businesses into compliance, moves that may backfire on him. According to this Flathead Beacon article, he:
1.) Is responding to hundreds of complaints about businesses, and soaring COVID numbers in our valley and elsewhere, by sending investigators out into our town’s establishments.
2.) Has singled out several businesses for violations in our town, and announced that he wants them under restraining orders. I thought that it sounded like he wanted to make examples of them. This quote confirmed it:
“The goal here is to make sure businesses are following the measures we need to keep folks safe,” Bullock said. “We expect that afterwards, most businesses will come into compliance and we will immediately seek to remove the temporary restraining orders.”
One of the businesses targeted is Sykes diner, a local favorite. He may find he pushed residents too far with that one. Even with all the local bickering over Coronavirus, from what I saw, Facebook registered uncontested indignation over this move. I read of a couple of plans for pushback, including announcements that locals were planning to eat there the next day in a show of support. Sykes has been around for years, popular especially with seniors. A few years ago, a retired businessman bought and renovated it. It’s a landmark for people who live around here.
The state just issued an online form where citizens can report businesses for being out of compliance. Who are these people so busy reporting businesses to the authorities? My husband and I went to a popular restaurant in a nearby town a few weeks ago, and that place was crowded. There wasn’t much mask-wearing going on, and diners were sitting cheek-by-jowl, so I chose to go to a quiet Asian place instead. But I would never have thought of reporting the busy restaurant for noncompliance. This whole thing feels like micro-management by the state. I’m not sure Bullock, who is running for Senate, is going to see much applause for these authoritarian moves.Published in