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4 NY sheriffs say they won’t enforce Gov Cuomo’s Thanksgiving COVID restrictions

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pictured on Aug. 28, 2019 in Queens, NY. (Go Nakamura /New York Daily News/TNS)
November 19, 2020

Two sheriffs in New York vowed not to enforce Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s COVID-19 restrictions for Thanksgiving, joining a growing list of law enforcement officials refusing to apply the new rules.

Gov. Cuomo took to Twitter Wednesday to remind New Yorkers of the latest orders that included banning indoor gatherings of over 10 people for two weeks just ahead of Thanksgiving, adding, “Thanksgiving is a week away. Large indoor dinners will spread COVID. Limit Thanksgiving to your immediate household…spread thanks, not COVID.”

Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy said that he wouldn’t participate in a “Thanksgiving Crackdown” on Monday, according to The Post Star.

“Who and how many people you have at your house for Thanksgiving is your business,” Murphy said. “I think we’ve all had quite a 2020 and can use our own best judgment without government oversight of a sacred and special holiday.”

Also on Monday, Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo vowed not to enforce the restrictions on Thanksgiving, WRGB Albany reported.

“I can’t see how devoting our resources to counting cars in citizens’ driveways or investigating how much turkey and dressing they’ve purchased is for the public good,” Zurlo told WRGB.

Over the weekend, Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino said “who and how many people you have in your home is your business,” adding that his office “would NOT be enforcing” the restrictions on Thanksgiving.

“With regard to the Thanksgiving Executive Order, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office will NOT be enforcing it against our County residents,” Giardino wrote. “Frankly, I am not sure it could sustain a Constitutional challenge in Court for several reasons including your house is your castle. And as a Sheriff with a law degree I couldn’t in good faith attempt to defend it Court, so I won’t.”

Update 2

Someone just anonymously emailed and said of course the Executive order doesn’t apply to people who live in…

Posted by Fulton County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday, November 14, 2020

“We have limited resources and we have to set priorities, so obtaining a Search Warrant to enter your home to see how many Turkey or Tofu eaters are present is not a priority. We won’t be doing that,” he continued. “So don’t feel a need to hide cars, cover with leaves or walk 3 blocks so your house doesn’t become a target of the Governors EO.”

In Erie County, Sheriff Tim Howard was the first law enforcement officer to publicly oppose enforcing the restrictions, saying he had “no plans” to order his deputies “to break up the great tradition of Thanksgiving dinner.”

Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard, the first law enforcement figure to resist the order in New York, said he had “no plans” to command his deputies “to break up the great tradition of Thanksgiving dinner,” the New York Post reported.

“I have no plans to utilize my office’s resources or deputies to break up the great tradition of Thanksgiving dinner,” he wrote. “This national holiday has created longstanding family traditions that are at the heart of America, and these traditions should not be stopped or interrupted by Governor Cuomo’s mandates.”