The COVID-19 pandemic transformed our understanding of the state’s role during a public health crisis and introduced an array of unprecedented policy tools: ever-stricter travel restrictions, lockdowns and closures of whole branches of the economy. Evidence-based policymaking seems to be the gold standard of such high-stakes policy interventions. This article presents an empirical investigation into the regulatory impact assessments accompanying sixty-four executive acts (regulations) introducing anti-pandemic restrictions in Poland over the first year of the pandemic. To this end, the study utilises the so-called scorecard methodology, which is popular in regulatory impact assessment research. This methodology highlights the shallowness of these documents and the accompanying processes, with an absence not only of a sound evidence base behind specific anti-pandemic measures or estimates of their economic impacts, but even of the comparative data on restrictions introduced in other European Union/Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. Overall, the collected data support the hypothesis that the ad hoc pandemic management process crowded out the law-making process through tools such as regulatory impact assessments and consultations. In other words, the genuine decision-making occurred elsewhere (with the exact process being largely invisible to public opinion and scholars) and drafting legal texts simply codified these decisions, with the law-making process becoming mere window-dressing.