Thanksgiving restrictions cause 'more damage' to fractured police relationship with community: New York Sheriff
Planning for Thanksgiving during the coronavirus pandemic has become a fearful exercise in deciding whether or not to invite Grandma.
The CDC has warned against traveling on vacation after coronavirus cases rose across the country. Governors in several states, including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and North Carolina, have limited the number of people Americans can invite to their homes for vacation to 10 people.
In New York, where COVID-19 hospital stays are on the rise, many law enforcement officials are refusing to enforce Governor Cuomo's order to limit Thanksgiving gatherings. Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino publicly denied Cuomo's orders in a Facebook post on Saturday.
“I think people can make their own decision about a risk / reward situation. And I think people should take precautions. I think it's a serious illness, ”Giardino told Yahoo Finance. "I'm just against the fact that it is the governor who is overwhelmed with an executive order to try to get into someone's house and get law enforcement to do the dirty work, so to speak."
In this September 5, 2020 file photo, police use chemical irritants and ammunition to control the crowd to disperse protesters on the 100th day of demonstration in Portland, Oregon. (AP Photo / Noah Berger, files)
Giardino points out that amid the racial justice protests sparked after the murder of George Floyd that summer, law enforcement is already trying to restore a strained relationship with the community.
"At the same time that we're doing police reform, we're going to send cops to knock on your door on Thanksgiving and say how many people are here. I want to see ... I want to count how many people you are here." And we're going to go to the laundry room and see if Grandma is hiding out there, "said Giardino." I think that does more harm to an already broken police-community relationship. "
As the sheriff of Fulton County, New York, Giardino regards Cuomo's executive orders as a waste of limited police resources. “I have three MPs for 500 square miles in one shift and 55,000 people. I can't go into everyone's house and count cars, ”he said.
In response to law enforcement opposition, Cuomo's senior adviser accused the police of playing politics, pointing out that sheriffs are elected officials.
On November 18, 2020, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo held a press conference on the coronavirus in the Red Room of the State Capitol in Albany, NY. During the press conference, Cuomo predicted a "huge spike" in COVID-19 cases after Thanksgiving, asking people not to be lulled into a false sense of security while on vacation. (Darren McGee / Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP)
"Politicians who act like politicians and ignore what the actual experts say have fueled the spread of this virus [and] what has plunged this country into this ongoing public health crisis in the first place," said Rich Azzopardi, senior advisor by Cuomo, in a statement to Yahoo Finance. “We urge everyone to continue to be smart and act responsibly. We know that this makes people unhappy, but better unhappy than sick or worse. "
Giardino distinguishes between Cuomo's commands that restrict home gatherings and business. Recent restrictions on businesses include 10pm. Curfew for bars and restaurants that came into effect a week ago.
"The governor can do that in companies ... [for] bars, restaurants because he has administrative oversight of the health department [and] the state alcohol board," Giardino said. "You have to stick to the rules, otherwise you can suspend your license."
Most of Fulton County's businesses have followed the rules, Giardino said. "There are some who have given me multiple complaints," he said. "We call them. We declare that the health department can shut them down or punish them. "
The coronavirus pandemic has claimed at least 250,000 deaths in the US (David Foster / Yahoo Finance)
While precautions must be taken to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the damage some restrictions do to businesses and people is permanent, Giardino says. “I think the damage done to social isolation [due to] some of these limitations cannot be repaired. We have a doubling in mental health in our county, ”he said.
Beyond Fulton County, the entire country is facing mental health problems as a result of the pandemic. "Much of this is due to job losses, vacations and fears that they will lose their mortgage," Giardino said.
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