Vermont police chiefs call governor’s Thanksgiving gathering restrictions difficult to enforce

Gov. Phil Scott issued tough restrictions on multi-household gatherings a little over a week ago, but police say it’s unlikely that anyone in law enforcement will crack down on individuals and families violating the governor’s orders.

“It would be difficult to enforce,” Berlin Police Chief James Pontbriand told True North. “We would hope to have, if the need arose, to have a conversation with people on the importance of social distancing and staying at home. If we did feel that it was something where action needed to be taken further, it would probably be a conversation that we would have to have with the state’s attorney’s office about what that would look like, if anything.

Scott, in his executive order, clarified rules for household gatherings, including those that take place over Thanksgiving break. Individuals who live alone may gather with just one other household, but those who do not live alone may not gather with members of another household.

Public domain

BORDERLINE POLICE STATE?: Republican Governor Phil Scott is joining mostly Democrat governors across the nation in attempting to cancel Thanksgiving gatherings.

With just four Vermont deaths associated with COVID-19 in as many months and almost no young or healthy people dying from the virus, Pontbraid was asked how long it should be before life goes back to normal. “I don’t know, I hope it’s soon,” he replied.

Pontbriand explained that some violations of the governor’s orders have required police involvement in recent months.

“As with most of the governor’s orders, with businesses having to do certain things and take certain actions to be in compliance, we’ve had a number of complaints about compliance at various businesses not following the rules, and usually that involves us going down and having a conversation with those folks.”

Montpelier Police Chief Brian Peete told True North by phone that he supports the governor’s policy, but added his officers will be focused on emergencies rather than enforcing limits on gatherings.

Stowe Police Chief Donald Hull, however, told True North the restrictions on gathering are “not enforceable.” He added that there are no fines or fees for infractions of these orders.

Barre City Police Chief Tim Bombardier and Rutland Police Chief Brian Kilcullen each expressed similarly that enforcement is not going to be their role, but if they receive repeated complaints of violations then individual matters could be referred to the Vermont Attorney General’s Office.

State police did not respond to True North’s request for comment. However, a statement on the “Plan for Thanksgiving Weekend” mentions traffic enforcement along with a reminder to wear seat belts and drive sober.

Pontbriand said traffic accidents are up for the year despite less travel on the roads this year.

“Roadside fatalities are on the rise, strangely enough,” he said. “Even though there’s less traveling there seem to be more fatalities on the interstate than there has been in the past.”

Police in other parts of the nation have also expressed the inability, or even refusal, to enforce orders against gatherings.

In Howell, New Jersey, Police Chief Andrew Kudrick said that his department will not be enforcing such measures.

“I wasn’t going to have my police officers going knocking on doors and ruining somebody’s holiday just to check on how many people are inside their house,” he told Fox & Friends.

New Mexico Democrat Gov. Michelle Grisham issued a five-person limit on Thanksgiving gatherings, but she admitted that it’s unenforcible.

“There is no way, anywhere in the country, we’re going to be able to say, look, you brought another household together. There [were] 10 of you having Thanksgiving dinner. But we are hopeful that people will really take heed,” she said.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot went as far as to say that residents “must cancel the normal Thanksgiving plans.

At least one governor is claiming that she will make good on threats to punish violators of gathering restrictions. Oregon Democrat Governor Kate Brown is threatening a month in jail and $1,250 fines for those who dare challenge her rules.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of Colchester Police Department and Public domain

18 thoughts on “Vermont police chiefs call governor’s Thanksgiving gathering restrictions difficult to enforce

    • From the article you posted.

      “The Monday after Thanksgiving, Vermont school staff under direction from the Agency of Education will be ask returning students and parents if they traveled to other households for Thanksgiving dinner. If they answer yes, the students will be required to attend school via remote learning for at least 7 days.
      Gov. Scott said businesses will be urged to ask employees the same question. Again, if the answer is yes, they will be asked to quarantine.”

      News Flash, it’s None of these of these people business who, what or where you were or did, at anytime,it is un Constitutional and It’s None Of Their Bleeping Business,PERIOD.

    • It’s getting to be an actual emergency that parents take their kids out of the schools.
      So what happens if they don’t approve of what they did? they go on one of AOC Lists?

  1. In light of Scott’s latest utterances of idiocy, It appears that law enforcement won’t be the “enforcers” of crazy this Thanksgiving. He has placed teachers and school staff front and center to enforce his mission. (Whatever that is…I’m not sure I understand his objective) Incredible, he intends school staff to quiz students about where and who they spent Thanksgiving with- before being allowed into school. Wrong answer? Two week quarantine. Constitutional? Doesn’t matter. And that, is the truly dangerous part of this “emergency order”. We are quickly devolving into a fiefdom.
    Christmas ought to be a real joyful season in 2020.

  2. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

    ― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

  3. “Vermont police chiefs call governor’s Thanksgiving gathering restrictions difficult to enforce”

    Not to mention un Constitutional,trying to enforce a edict from that of a petty tyrant, if indeed law enforcement acted on would surly end up in the courts.

    Benedict Scott can suggest that people do this or that but News Flash for the tyrant,he is not the crown and nobody pays any attention to his unlawful edicts.

  4. Here’s a message for Governor Scott, et al :
    I am a free citizen of the United States of America and not a “subject” to be lorded over by you. Your restrictions stop at the entrance to my property Your mandates are not law. They have not been debated and voted on by the state legislature and sent to you for your signature and they do not supercede my constitutional rights. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. In 2020, no guests allowed at Thanksgiving!
    In 2021, no Thanksgiving allowed without Covid vaccine!
    In 2022, no Thanksgiving allowed without full-blooded native American Indians present!
    In 2023, no Euro-Americans allowed at Thanksgiving!
    In 2024, only vegan Thanksgiving!
    In 2025, no prayers of thanks at Thanksgiving!
    In 2026, Thanksgiving suspended due to climate change!
    In 2027, Thanksgiving abolished!
    In 2028, all mention of Thanksgivings past removed from public school classroom instruction.

Comments are closed.