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Sheriff Howard: 'I have not changed my position regarding Thanksgiving'

Posted at 3:01 PM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 15:01:06-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard has issued another statement on Thanksgiving gatherings after previously pushing back against an order from Governor Andrew Cuomo that household gatherings should be limited to 10 people to help stop a spike in COVID-19 cases.

In an updated statement Howard said:

"COVID 19 is a severe disease, and all New Yorkers should take it seriously. My office has been doing what we can, within the law and the Constitution, to help keep people safe during this pandemic. Recently the governor issued an order limiting residential gatherings to no more than 10 individuals. He demands that Sheriffs, not his state police, enforce it. Unfortunately, what he has given us, we have no way to enforce his restrictions. New Yorkers have a right to privacy and the right to be free of warrantless searches in their homes. For this reason, we cannot go into citizens’ homes to see how many people are dining there. We have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, and the Constitution trumps the governor’s executive order. I have not changed my position regarding Thanksgiving, and I encourage everyone to follow their heart and do what’s best for your family. Please be responsible and protect yourselves and others until we can defeat this disease. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone."

During a news conference Tuesday Cuomo spoke about enforcement of COVID-19 protocols.

“Nobody can enforce how many people you invite home for Thanksgiving," he said. "Nobody’s going to come and knock on your door and say 'let me count how many people you have in your home,' that’s not what it’s about."

Cuomo continued on to say enforcement of the protocols was never about government rule or the government policy, its about New Yorkers getting the advice and the facts and doing the right thing.

"I saw this little cartoon of me looking in the window on Thanksgiving, I'm not looking in your window on Thanksgiving," Cuomo said. "Nobody is looking in your window on Thanksgiving. You know everything I know, it's up to you and the results are going to be decided by you."