Clay County Sheriff says social gathering restrictions will be ‘difficult’ to enforce

Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order on Tuesday limiting the size of social gatherings to no more than 10 people and no more than three households.

MOORHEAD, Minn. – More restrictive changes are coming to Minnesota as the state tries to limit the uptick in COVID-19 cases.

Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order that set a curfew of 10 p.m. for bars and restaurants, limits the number of guests at weddings to 50 people and allows for no more than 10 people from no more than three households to attend a social gathering.

“To start to tell you how many people you can have in your residence, I don’t necessarily think that that is any place for the government to tell people,” said Clay County Sheriff Mark Empting.

The state has left it up to local law enforcement to enforce these restrictions, but that is not an easy task.

“I understand what they are doing and what they want to do with the order, but to be able to enforce that would be very difficult and nearly impossible to enforce I think,” added Empting.

In Clay County, Sheriff Empting says the area has not had any major issues with large gatherings, especially because it is mainly rural.

He knows this order comes at a terrible time with the holidays quickly approaching, but says his office has no plans to crack down hard.

“We won’t be seeking this out whatsoever. If we get a call for service on it, we will obviously look into that call for service and take appropriate steps and actions at that point, but we are definitely not going to be seeking it out,” said Empting.

The individual punishment for violating this order is a citation up to $1,000 and/or up to 90 days in prison.

“To this point, we haven’t issued any citation for any executive order and I don’t really foresee that changing,” Empting said.

This holiday season is going to be more stressful than normal for most people. The sheriff’s office wants everyone to continue being safe, but to also get the chance to be with those they love.

“Right now more than anything, people want to get together and be with family during this time,” said Empting. “To limit that is very, very difficult.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Coronavirus-MN, Crime, Local News, Minnesota News