State Watch

At least four New York sheriffs say they won’t enforce Cuomo’s limits on Thanksgiving gatherings

Four New York sheriffs say they will not enforce Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) restrictions on Thanksgiving gatherings, with one saying he “couldn’t in good faith attempt to defend it.”

Sheriffs from Erie, Fulton, Saratoga and Washington counties have come forward saying they will not enforce rules released last week by Cuomo that limit indoor gatherings to 10 people, including for the holidays.

“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 [in] Court, so I won’t,” wrote Richard Giardino on the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

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

Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard, meanwhile, wrote, “I have no plans to utilize my office’s resources or Deputies to break up the great tradition of Thanksgiving dinner.”

In his statement, Howard said his office is respecting the “sanctity of your home” and encouraged people to “follow your heart and act responsibly.”

Buffalo, NY – Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard’s statement regarding Thanksgiving. “I have no plans to utilize my…

Posted by Erie County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, November 13, 2020

Sheriffs Michael Zurlo of Saratoga County and Jeff Murphy of Washington County both made similar statements, saying what happens inside people’s homes is beyond their jurisdiction.

Sheriff Zurlo’s statement on Thanksgiving Executive Order.

Posted by Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office on Monday, November 16, 2020

The restrictions fall in line with recommendations that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made in regard to the holiday season. In a new report, the CDC said that gatherings would be best if they were limited to only those within a person’s immediate household, even excluding college students returning home from school.

These sheriffs are not the only public officials to publicly go against Cuomo’s orders. In a tweet, Joe Borelli, a Republican Staten Island council member, said he planned on having more than 10 people at his Thanksgiving celebration.


“Politicians acting like politicians and ignoring what the actual experts say has been fueling the spread of this virus and is what plunged this country into this continued public health crisis in the first place,” Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to Cuomo‎, told The Hill when asked for comment. “We urge everyone to continue to be smart and act responsibly. We know this makes people unhappy, but better unhappy then sick or worse.”

According to government data, New York state, excluding New York City, is currently experiencing a rise in coronavirus cases, though it has not come near the surge reached in April.

Tags Andrew Cuomo Coronavirus coronavirus restrictions COVID-19 New York Thanksgiving

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