Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino, in a Facebook post, said that a governor’s executive order directed at citizens for private conduct isn’t typically a law with penalties. While he said the order applying to businesses can be enforced, he said the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office won’t enforce the restriction, and people won’t be arrested for flouting the rules.
“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,” he wrote. “We won’t be doing that. The only way to enter your residence is if we have a warrant, we are invited in, or an exigent or emergency circumstance exists.
“We have three patrols a shift for 500 square miles; monitoring family dinners aren’t our priority.”
Giardino noted that he believes people in Fulton County will “use their own judgment on who and how many people they invite.
“Obviously, if you have high-risk family members, you will weigh the risks to your loved ones versus the reward. Thanksgiving is just that, a time to give thanks for what we have or have received over the year,” he said.
Giardino, a Republican, described Cuomo’s order as unconstitutional.
“People have enough anxiety in their life without thinking that the police are going to come to their door and check on how many people are there,” the sheriff told the Times Union. “But they hear it on TV and think if they add in grandma, they are going to be arrested.”
Meanwhile, Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo’s office said, “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 affirmed that his department also won’t enforce Cuomo’s order.
Last week, Cuomo wrote that the state is limiting Thanksgiving gatherings to 10 people or fewer to “slow the spread” of the CCP virus.
“We know indoor gatherings and parties are a major source of COVID spread,” the governor, a Democrat, wrote.
Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to Cuomo, asserted that sheriffs who refuse to enforce compliance are playing politics.
“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 told the Times Union. “We urge everyone to continue to be smart and act responsibly. We know this makes people unhappy, but better unhappy than sick or worse.”
Saratoga County and Fulton County are both located in upstate New York.