As COVID-19 infections continue to climb in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has continued to take executive actions that limit the freedoms of New Yorkers in an effort to stop the spread of the pandemic.
On November 12, 2020, Gov. Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 202.74. That order contains various provisions relating to the hours of operation of restaurants, bars, gyms, and fitness centers. It also contains a controversial provision that limits “non-essential private residential gatherings to 10 or fewer individuals for any lawful purpose or reason.” The Governor’s stated goal is to prevent a spike in COVID-19 infections during the Thanksgiving holiday; according to the Governor, “‘love is sometimes doing what’s hard. This year, if you love someone, it is smarter and better to stay away’” during the holiday season. The Governor has also asserted that new COVID-19 infections are “‘coming from three main areas: establishments where alcohol is served, gyms, and indoor gatherings at private homes.’”
Not everyone is on board with Gov. Cuomo’s limit on in-home gatherings. Jason McGuire, Executive Director, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, remarked:
“Governor Andrew Cuomo’s declaration that it’s ‘wrong’ to gather with your family for Thanksgiving is everything wrong with New York. We should celebrate family, not shame these ties. One can share valid COVID concerns, while still elevating these familial bonds. While our family will be practicing restraint this season, we won’t be quitting Thanksgiving cold turkey.”
In fact, several upstate sheriffs have stated that they will not enforce it. According to NBC News, Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard said:
“‘I have no plans to utilize my office’s resources or Deputies to break up the great tradition of Thanksgiving dinner. This national holiday has created longstanding family traditions that are at the heart of America, and these traditions should not be stopped or interrupted by Governor Cuomo’s mandates. My office will respect the sanctity of your home and traditions, and I encourage you to follow your heart and act responsibly.’”