Another three sheriffs from upstate New York said they won't be enforcing far-left Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Thanksgiving coronavirus restrictions on gatherings in private residences, the New York Post reported.
What's the background?
Cuomo announced new restrictions last week in response to the COVID-19 surge, saying gatherings in the state would be limited to just 10 people, including at private residences.
"New York follows the science," Cuomo said of his decision. "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. This limit takes effect Friday at 10 p.m."
But Cuomo didn't say how the new restrictions would be enforced, leaving those decisions up to local authorities — and Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino apparently took the Democrat at his word.
"With regard to the Thanksgiving Executive Order, the Fulton County Sheriff's Office will NOT be enforcing it against our County residents," Giardino wrote in a Facebook post.
"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," the sheriff added. "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."
Giardino later added that he trusts his residents to use their best judgment while still urging them to take precautions when around those who are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Three more sheriffs enter the fray
And now joining Giardino is Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy who said there won't be any Thanksgiving enforcement of Cuomo's restrictions, the Post reported, adding that Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo said Monday that goes for his jurisdiction as well.
"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 in a news release, according to the paper.
Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard said his office would also ignore the indoor gathering limit, the Post reported.
Giardino also said in an interview with the Albany Times Union that Cuomo is "scaring the hell out of people."
"People have common sense. They are not going to jeopardize family members. They are not going to jeopardize close friends. Most people respect the masks," Giardino added to the Times Union. "Basically, as a lawyer, former DA and judge, if I got brought into court, I can't justify it constitutionally. The threat is not so great that we should be limiting who they can have for Thanksgiving."
What did a Cuomo adviser have to say?
Cuomo adviser Richard Azzopardi reacted by saying, "We urge everyone to continue to be smart and act responsibly. We know this makes people unhappy, but better unhappy than sick or worse," the Post reported.