Sheriffs in the New York counties of Fulton, Schenectady and Saratoga have revealed that they will not be enforcing part the latest coronavirus restrictions put in place by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as reported by The Daily Gazette. Of the new rules enacted on November 13, the sheriffs claimed that limiting household gatherings to 10 people would be impossible to enforce.
In an online post shared on Saturday, Fulton County Sheriff Rich Giardino described the order as “unconstitutional, unenforceable and a low priority for his department,” according to the report. He went on to claim that Cuomo’s efforts went too far and that he had received many calls from local citizens concerned about its enforcement.
“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 wrote.
He also encouraged people to wear masks and social distance while warning of the risks associated with contracting COVID-19.
On Monday, Schenectady County Sheriff Dominic Dagostino explained that his police department did not have the resources to enforce the new rules. He went on to say that even if he did have the resources available, it was unclear how the measures could be carried out.
“We’ve got 150,000 people in the county. How do you enforce it?” he said.
Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo echoed that in a statement released on Monday, released in response to questions about enforcement from residents.
“I can’t see how devoting our resources to counting cars in our citizens’ driveways or investigating how much turkey they’ve purchased is for the public good,” he wrote.
While he encouraged residents to follow measures to stop the spread, he wrote that the police will continue to consider private residences as “sacrosanct.”
According to a report by NBC New York, the household limits are only one of the restrictions put in place in an effort to slow down the spiraling rates of COVID-19 infections in the state. The order declared that any establishment licensed by the State Liquor Authority, which includes bars and restaurants, must close their dining area by 10 p.m. Curbside food-only pickup after that was still permitted. Gyms were also required to close at 10 p.m.
Cuomo said that it was bars, gyms, restaurants and house parties that were discovered to be the primary sources of coronavirus spread identified by contact tracing.