New York Sheriffs Say They Refuse To Enforce Cuomo’s Thanksgiving COVID-19 Restrictions

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II



It looks like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Thanksgiving restrictions are already dead in the water. A number of sheriffs declared that they would not be enforcing the governor’s private gathering limit on the holiday. 


Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino published a Facebook post on Saturday indicating his refusal to enforce the 10-person cap on gatherings and parties in private residences. “Frankly, I am not sure it could sustain a Constitutional challenge in Court for several reasons including your house is your castle,” he wrote. “And as a Sheriff with a law degree I couldn’t in good faith attempt to defend it Court, so I won’t.”

Giardino also explained that his officers can’t enter private homes unless they are invited, possess search warrants, or are dealing with an “emergency circumstance.” 

“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,” the Fulton County sheriff wrote.

Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy echoed Giardino’s sentiments. He announced that there would be no Thanksgiving enforcement of Cuomo’s restrictions. 

Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo also criticized the restrictions. “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,” he said in a press release.

Last Friday, which was only two days after the governor announced his latest restrictions, Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard declared that his office would not enforce the indoor gathering limit. 

Needless to say, Cuomo’s office isn’t happy about sheriffs bucking the governor’s orders. Senior Cuomo adviser Richard Azzopardi responded: “Politicians acting like politicians and ignoring what the actual experts say has been fueling the spread of this virus is what plunged this country in this continued public health crisis in the first place.” 


He added, “We urge everyone to continue to be smart and act responsibly. We know this makes people unhappy, but better unhappy then sick or worse.”

Cuomo isn’t the only governor trying to tell Americans how to conduct their Thanksgiving celebrations. California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are also trying to make Turkey day miserable for residents living in their states. 

But the sheriffs are correct — it is highly unlikely that these politicians would be able to defend these onerous restrictions in court as the Constitution does not provide a justification for these types of measures. Hopefully, other law enforcement officials in New York and other states will follow this trend. Perhaps it will remind these progressive politicians of the limits of their power. 


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