Three New York county sheriffs say they won’t enforce Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Thanksgiving “unconstitutional” Covid-19 order limiting gatherings to 10 people.
Cuomo announced Wednesday a new prohibition on indoor gatherings two weeks prior to Thanksgiving and the holiday season. The order has been met with backlash from Republican leaders and Sheriffs who are pushing back against what they described as an “unconstitutiona”’ order. Sheriffs from Fulton County, Washington County, Saratoga County and Erie County have publicly refused to enforce the recent order, the Daily Caller reported.
Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy wrote that he won’t be partaking 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 wrote. “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.”
Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo also vowed not to enforce the regulations, 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,” the law enforcement authority told the local outlet.
Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino on Monday accused Cuomo of “scaring the hell out of people.” In a Saturday Facebook post, he added Thanksgiving plans are “your business” and his office “would NOT be enforcing” the restrictions.
“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.”
“Who and how many people you invite in to your home is your business, unlike outdoor gatherings which may receive a police response if disorderly or other violations of public nuisance laws occur,” he continued.
When asked about the surge in cases, the Republican sheriff told the Times Union, the virus was mainly a concern for the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, adding that only 28 people have died in the county so far, the majority being in nursing homes.
Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard, the first 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,” according to the Post.
“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.”