New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo blasted law enforcement for not wearing masks and for refusing to enforce the state’s 10-person cap on private gatherings.
A number of sheriffs in western New York told residents they won’t enforce the state’s gathering limit on Thanksgiving.
“I don’t believe that person is a law enforcement officer,” Cuomo said at a news briefing Wednesday.
“I don’t want a law enforcement officer who says, ‘I’m only enforcing the law that I like or think should be enforced.'”
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Thursday released recommendations against travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, as coronavirus cases spike across the U.S. On Wednesday the U.S. reached one million new cases in one week.
Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino questioned the legality of Cuomo’s order and said his department’s resources were stretched already.
“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 in a Facebook post.
Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo also brushed off any idea that his officers would be knocking on doors to get a headcount of guests.
“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 press release.
New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea told cable news channel, NY1, that his team of officers would not break up gatherings to enforce the cap either.
Cuomo also called out the officers for failing to wear masks, which has been documented in multiple reports.
“A lot of police officers don’t wear a mask… well, how are you then supposed to enforce other people wearing a mask when they see you not wearing a mask?” the governor said.
“I violate the law but you can’t. No! nobody said you were above the law,” Cuomo added.
The NYPD threatened officers with disciplinary action if they were found to be working maskless, after public complaints. However, as of last month, no officer had been fined for improper mask-wearing, according to the New York Post. Updated numbers for this month could not immediately be provided.
On Nov. 11 Cuomo announced new coronavirus restrictions, requiring all businesses with a liquor license and gyms to close at 10 p.m., along with the private gathering limit.
Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday it was “just a matter of time” before bars and gyms would be shuttered, and that such a move is "very likely to be in the next week or two."