The Amish are the latest Americans to feel the squeeze of authoritarian bans on large gatherings as the sheriff who broke up one gathering in Ohio has revealed he’ll continue to do so.
The Geauga County Sheriff’s Office originally broke up an Amish party in Huntsburg Township in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The large gathering was allegedly host to underage drinkers who were charged by the department, and one person was arrested for disorderly conduct. According to the sheriff, the root of the problem appears to be how the event is happening during a stay-at-home order.
“There is some concern out there and we are getting reports of large gatherings happening,” Geauga County Sheriff Scott Hildenbrand told WJW. “If we get calls, or find out about them, we will go there, break them up and get them out of there.”
“We won’t tolerate this and we have to keep everybody safe.”
Officers were tipped off to the party by a 911 caller.
According to WJW, pictures show the Amish breaking the stay-at-home order by congregating for games and other activities.
An Ohio Department of Health order requires residents to remain inside of their homes, halts all so-called nonessential work and places strict requirements on citizens in the state.
One rule in the order stipulates that “all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited,” with only minor exceptions.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine extended the order to May 1, although it’s unclear if the restrictions will be pushed further into the year if more cases appear.
Leaders in some states have used their power to extend stay-at-home rules, with some, like Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, ordering a tentative end date of June 10.
The crackdown on the Amish comes as authorities are targeting Christian churches for holding services and other events.
Many have protested state orders, demonstrating against the harsh rules that are damaging communities and putting people out of work.
In California, the protests have been effectively halted on government-owned land after state police placed more scrutiny on permit applicants.
President Donald Trump has largely sided with protesters, a message that aligns with his desire to open American communities back up.
Although the virus at the heart of the stay-at-home orders is spread through close proximity to other people, masks, hand-washing and social distancing can help stem the pathogen’s spread.
For now, it’s unclear if what is happening to the Amish will become the new normal or slowly fade as America returns to its pre-pandemic state.
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