Fla. Gov. DeSantis Vows to Pardon Residents Who Violated COVID-19 Rules

(USA Features) Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis noted on social media Thursday he plans to pardon any resident who was arrested and charged with not following COVID-19 rules and restrictions.

“Floridians should not be penalized for rejecting the overreach of local authorities through unnecessary mask mandates,” DeSantis noted on Twitter.

In his tweet he also posted a video of an appearance on Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s program Wednesday evening along with a Broward County, Florida, couple—Mike and Jillian Carnevale, both of whom were repeatedly arrested for refusing to require masks in their gym.

“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, a Republican, added in a follow-on tweet.

The Carnevales were facing jail time for allegedly not enforcing mask orders after appearing in court in March. A trial date was set for May 18.

“Now they’re looking to take it a step further. They want to put us in jail and we’re not backing down to this,” Mike Carnevale told CBS Miami. “We have an attorney that’s going to fight this until the very end. I’ll be fighting this until the very end. I won’t be backing down, that’s where we stand.”

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But DeSantis said that their arrests and others for similar violations amounted to a “total overreach” on behalf of local governments.

“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.

“The fact is it’s not even right to be wearing masks when you’re exercising,” the Republican governor added. “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.

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“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’ve got a governor that cares,” DeSantis noted further.

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