Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday that he would pardon the couple who was arrested for keeping their gym open during the coronavirus pandemic, adding that he would also issue pardons “for any Floridian that may have outstanding infractions for things like masks and social distancing.”
During an appearance on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” with host Laura Ingram, DeSantis told Mike and Jillian Carnevale, gym owners who were arrested several times for refusing to enforce a mask mandate, that he would pardon them and anyone else who violated mask mandates or social distancing.
“It’s a total overreach, Laura. This is exactly what we ordered against last summer, many, many months ago,” DeSantis said. “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, so that will delay the case for 60 days against both of them, and then when our clemency board meets in the coming weeks, I will issue pardons, not only for Mike and Jillian, but for any Floridian that may have outstanding infractions for things like masks and social distancing.”
“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,” the Republican governor continued. “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.”
The couple expressed gratitude for the governor’s announcement.
“Thank you so much, Governor DeSantis. We appreciate that a lot. Thank you,” the couple responded.
Last September, DeSantis said any outstanding fines and penalties applied against individuals for coronavirus restrictions “are suspended,” adding that the authorities need to stop penalizing people for social distancing and “just work with people constructively.”
Despite the governors direction, a number of counties still punished Floridians for refusing to wear masks, including Broward County where the Carnevale family owns their gym.
“Two months after gyms reopened in South Florida, Broward County came down with a mandate saying that facial coverings had to be worn during strenuous exercise,” Mike Carnevale told Ingraham. “We filed a lawsuit against Broward County for this; 24 hours after the lawsuit was filed, we were arrested. We were arrested three times in total; they seized our business; they offered us 10 days in jail. We declined that and now I’m looking at six months in prison. They also arrested Jillian here as well.”