Well-Being

Florida Gov Ron DeSantis to pardon Floridians charged for violating COVID-19 rules

getty: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)

Story at a glance

  • DeSantis on Wednesday appeared on Fox News with gym owners who faced jail time for refusing to enforce COVID-19 protocols at their business.
  • The governor made an unexpected announcement during the interview that he would pardon the couple and any Floridian with outstanding infractions related to coronavirus protocols.
  • DeSantis said health measures such as mask-wearing should be “advisory” not “punitive.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) says he will grant clemency to anyone in the state charged for violating local COVID-19 orders, such as failing to wear masks or social distance.

DeSantis on Wednesday appeared on Fox News with Mike and Jillian Carnevale, who were arrested several times for refusing to enforce COVID-19 protocols at their gym in South Florida and faced possible jail time. 


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The governor made an unexpected announcement during the interview that he would pardon the couple and any Floridian with outstanding infractions related to coronavirus protocols. 

“It’s total overreach,” DeSantis told Fox News host Laura Ingraham.

“I’m glad you have Mike and Jillian on, and I’m also glad to be on to be able to say that effective tomorrow morning, I’m going to sign a reprieve under my constitutional authority,” DeSantis said. 

“So that will delay the case for 60 days against both of them, and then when our clemency board meets in the coming weeks, we’ll issue pardons not only for Mike and Jillian, but for any Floridian that may have outstanding infractions for things like masks and social distancing,” he said. 

DeSantis said health measures such as mask-wearing should be “advisory” not “punitive.”

“I think they’ve been treated poorly and fortunately, they’ve got a governor who cares,” he added. 

Earlier this month, DeSantis took executive action to suspend all local COVID-19 emergency orders in the state. He also banned so-called vaccine passports and put limits on local government’s responses to public health emergencies, including ensuring neither the state nor local government can close businesses or keep kids out of school “unless they satisfy demanding or continuous justification.” 


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