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'Family Dinners Aren't Our Priority': More Sheriffs Plan to Resist Cuomo's Thanksgiving Mandate

Kevin P. Coughlin/ Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP

The sheriffs have had enough. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has let COVID power go to his head these past several months, including last week, when he enforced gyms, bars and restaurants to close by 10 p.m. And worst yet, he is forcing families to make some tough decisions and limit their private gatherings, including those upcoming Thanksgiving dinners, to just 10 people. 

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It's that last order that has really irked New Yorkers. And a handful of sheriffs are saying they won't enforce the rule. We've already reported on Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard's approach to the controversy.

“I have no plans to utilize my office’s resources or deputies to break up the great tradition of Thanksgiving dinner,” Howard said last week. 

And now sheriffs from Fulton, Saratoga and Washington counties are following suit. Check out Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino's message for the governor.

"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," Giardino said. "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 exist. We have three patrols a shift for 500 square miles, monitoring Family Dinners aren't our priority.

"So don't feel a need to hide cars, cover with leaves or walk 3 blocks so your house doesn't become a target of the Governors EO."

"The constant barrage of Government Regulations and control over your daily lives has added to mass depression, the exacerbation of other medical conditions due to stress and the disruption of your normal routine," Giardino noted. 

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The sheriff urged New Yorkers to "use good judgment" this holiday season. But that's where his instruction ended.

Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy agreed with his fellow sheriffs.

“Who and how many people you have at your house for Thanksgiving is your business,” Murphy wrote. “I think we’ve all had quite a 2020 and can use our own best judgment without government oversight of a sacred and special holiday.”

Cuomo's leadership during this year's pandemic has been arguably nonexistent. He introduced a mandate that forced COVID patients back into nursing homes, and skipped several White House coronavirus meetings. He did, however, have time to write a self-congratulatory book about how he handled the coronavirus.

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