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Niagara County: enforcement guidance lacking ahead of holiday gatherings

The sheriff said his department has yet to receive enforcement guidelines from the state. He won't actively seek gatherings in violation of the governor's mandate.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Governor Andrew Cuomo is having a tough time getting sheriffs across the state to enforce his 10-person limit on Thanksgiving gatherings. 

Niagara County Sheriff Michael Filicetti told 2 On Your Side that his department has yet to receive any enforcement guidelines from the state when it comes to gatherings in private homes. The sheriff says he won't actively seek gatherings in violation of the governor's mandate.

"I support our sheriff in the sense that we would really struggle to have law enforcement recourses to investigate and charge people from their kitchen, dining room tables with a crime," Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek said.

"If someone is excessive or flagrant in their violation of the law, then a civil fine, yes."

Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard says he doesn't plan to use his deputies to break up Thanksgiving dinners. He asked everyone to follow your heart and act responsibly, as well as do what best for your family.

Earlier this week, through a statement, the following law enforcement officials said that they have no intention of enforcing the Executive Order issued by Governor Cuomo limiting gatherings in private residences to 10 people or less:

  • Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard
  • Niagara County Sheriff Michael Filicetti
  • Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek
  • Chautauqua County Sheriff James Quattrone
  • Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron
  • Steuben County Sheriff James Allard
  • Ontario County District Attorney James Ritts
  • Yates County Sheriff Ronald Spike
  • Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts
  • Schuyler County Sheriff William Yessman

Still, caution is being urged by elected officials and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.