Gov. DeSantis to Pardon Those Charged With Breaking COVID Protocol (Lynne Sladky/AP)
By Nick Koutsobinas | Thursday, 13 May 2021 10:27 PM
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday said he would pardon anyone charged with breaking COVID-19 protocols such as mask-wearing and social distancing. The governor made the remarks after two gym owners, Mike and Jillian Carnevale, faced criminal penalties for refusing to enforce such protocols.
DeSantis said he would order a 60-day reprieve for the gym owners that would delay their cases. During that time, a clemency board will meet to issue pardons to the gym owners and Florida residents who have similar charges.
"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," DeSantis said according to CBS News.
He then added, "These things with health should be advisory. They should not be punitive."
The gym owners, who reside in Broward County, Florida, were arrested on three different occasions for defying the COVID-19 laws last summer. The owners eventually had their gym shut down following warnings from police.
"As soon as I heard that Mike and Jillian Carnevale were facing criminal penalties, like possible jail time, for not requiring masks at their gym I stepped in to shield them from this local government overreach," DeSantis tweeted Thursday.
The news comes after the governor made an announcement last week to immediately suspend all COVID-19 mandates in the state. The governor said he would outlaw them by July 1.