Many New York Sheriffs Won’t Enforce Limit On Thanksgiving Guests
A growing number of sheriffs in New York are refusing to enforce Cuomo's orders to limit Thanksgiving guests.
In September, the CDC recommended people not to celebrate Thanksgiving with anyone they don't live with. The health agency added large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your home on Thanksgiving as a high-risk activity to spread COVID-19.
"Thanksgiving is a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together. Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved," the CDC wrote while issuing its first set of guidelines for Thanksgiving.
In late October, Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged New Yorkers to use caution during the upcoming holidays and recommended against families getting together for Thanksgiving.
"My personal advice is you don’t have a family gathering, even for Thanksgiving,” Cuomo said during the conference call. “My personal advice is the best way to say ‘I love you’ this Thanksgiving, the best way to say ‘I’m thankful for you’ is to say ‘I love you so much, I’m so thankful for you, that I don’t want to endanger you, and I don’t want to endanger our family and I don’t want to endanger our friends, so we’ll celebrate virtually.’ But that is my personal opinion.”
Last week, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 Cuomo announced a number of new restrictions. All restaurants, bars and gyms must now close each night by 10 p.m. Cuomo also announced indoor and outdoor gatherings at private residences will be limited to no more than 10 people.
"New York follows the science. We know indoor gatherings and parties are a major source of COVID spread. To slow the spread, NYS will limit indoor gatherings at private residences to 10 people," Cuomo tweeted.
The limit on the number of people inside a home angered some New Yorkers who felt Cuomo was forcing them to cancel or limit their Thanksgiving. A growing number of sheriffs in New York say they won't enforce the limit on Thanksgiving gatherings.
“I have no plans to utilize my office’s resources or Deputies to break up the great tradition of Thanksgiving dinner,” Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard said. “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.”
Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino added the limit on Thanksgiving might be unconstitutional.
"With regard to the Thanksgiving Executive Order, the Fulton County Sheriff's Office will NOT be enforcing it against our County residents. 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," Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino said in a viral post. "Who and how many people you invite [into} your home is your business, unlike outdoor gatherings which may receive a police response if disorderly or other violations of public nuisance laws occur.
On Monday, Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo joined the other sheriffs.
"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 said.