DeSantis announces pardons for all Floridians punished for violating COVID-19 ‘rules’

On Fox News Wednesday, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Laura Ingraham’s show that he will grant clemency to all those who have been punished in Florida for allegedly violating COVID-19 restrictions, calling it “a total overreach.”

Gym owners Mike and Jillian Carnevale from Plantation, Florida appeared on the show as well. They have been repeatedly arrested for refusing to enforce a mask mandate. DeSantis surprised the couple by pardoning them live on-air.

“It’s a total overreach, Laura. This is exactly what we ordered against last summer many, many months ago, and so I was actually just recently briefed on this case, and we looked at it and so 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 declared.

(Video Credit: Fox News)

“The fact is, it’s not even right to be wearing masks when you’re exercising. The World Health Organization advises against it. It’s not healthy for people to be doing that in the first place, so it was a bad restriction, but these things with health should be advisory, they should not be punitive, and so we are happy to use our constitutional authority. I think they’ve been treated poorly and fortunately, they got a governor that cares,” DeSantis proclaimed.

Florida as a state does not have a mask mandate. But individual counties and municipalities do and the governor is stepping in to rectify that.

Mike Carnevale was initially arrested on July 27. He was then taken into custody twice more on August 6 and 7 for not enforcing the mask mandate while his clientele exercised. Jillian Carnevale was also arrested on August 7.

Earlier in May, DeSantis lifted all COVID-19 restrictions in Florida declaring that the state was “no longer in a state of emergency.” He signed a bill that facilitates his overriding all local mandates and bans vaccine passports.

The Republican governor stated: “We need a new construct for these emergency powers that have been used throughout the country — lesser so, obviously, from the state of Florida’s perspective — but certainly we’ve had local governments do it.”

“We worked very hard, particularly since (last) summer, to jettison those types of policies and we focused on lifting people up,” DeSantis remarked.

He continued: “We wanted people going back to work. We wanted our kids to be in school — we thought that that was very important that parents have the ability to send their kids to school — and we wanted our economy to be healthy.”

“We wanted our society to be healthy. We wanted people to be happy living in Florida,” DeSantis commented.

In response to the CDC recommending wearing two masks, DeSantis stated: “My view is if you get a vaccine, the vaccines are effective.”

“You’re immune and so, act immune. If you tell people the opposite, then gee, you know why, if it’s not effective for them and it’s not going to change anything then what’s the point of going through it?” he posited.

Florida is the first state to issue pardons for violating pandemic mandates.

It is unclear how many people this will affect but it could potentially be thousands of Floridians.

The governor’s clemency was met with wide approval on social media:


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