Will Lewis County sheriff enforce Cuomo’s new rules? ’No, I will not,’ says Carpinelli

Updated: Nov. 13, 2020 at 10:18 PM EST
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LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - New state rules go into effect Friday night. Bars and restaurants have to close by 10 p.m. and the number of people inside your home for a gathering is limited to 10. How will the changes be enforced - or will they?

Lewis County’s sheriff has said this is a state enforcement issue, not one his department intends to deal with.

Sheriff Mike Carpinelli has not changed his mind about Governor Cuomo’s guidelines even though the county is seeing COVID numbers like they haven’t seen before.

“We’re definitely entering a different phase here in Lewis County with numbers we have never seen before,” said County Manager Ryan Piche.

In fact, Piche says more than half of the county’s overall positive cases since March have come in the last month.

“You’ve got a curve right now that is 100 percent vertical. We have to flatten the curve. It’s not a hypothetical like it was last March. Now it’s not hypothetical, it’s a necessity,” he said.

But the problem isn’t just in Lewis County.

New York state has seen record-breaking numbers, prompting Governor Cuomo to mandate a new set of rules. Those go into effect Friday night at 10 p.m.

And Governor Cuomo says local governments are in charge of enforcing those rules.

“We plan on enforcing them like we have in the beginning, which is that we have a system in place for receiving complaints and taking action,” said Piche.

Someone who won’t be taking action when it comes to the guidelines is Sheriff Mike Carpinelli.

Carpinelli says he has not broken up any large gatherings or responded to any complaints since the pandemic began.

“I don’t think there should be law enforcement involved in trying to tell people to quarter into their own homes and not have holidays. I believe in safety, but I think we should be self-governing by the people themselves,” he said.

And when it comes to the newest guidelines, Carpinelli says his team won’t be enforcing those.

“That’s not the law enforcement’s job. No, I will not. I will never restrict anyone from having gatherings in their home; that’s private property. It’s up to the state licensing authorities if they want to invoke the governor’s edict on them,” he said.

Carpinelli says at the end of the day, it’s about respecting each other and each other’s boundaries when it comes to concerns about the virus. But that responsibility and those boundaries, he says, should be set by people, not local law enforcement.

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