Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will pardon anyone in the Sunshine State charged for not wearing masks or socially distancing — breaking the news live on air to a gym-owning couple who were facing jail time for defying coronavirus safety recommendations.
The Republican governor made the unexpected announcement on Fox News Wednesday as he decried county officials penalizing people.
“It’s a total overreach,” he told Laura Ingraham. “These things with health should be advisory, they should not be punitive.”
He broke the news of his pardon directly to Mike and Jillian Carnevale, who faced up to 120 days in jail for repeatedly allowing people to forgo masks at their gym in Plantation in Broward County.
“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,” the governor said as the couple and their attorney listened with wide smiles.
“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 promised.
DeSantis said potential jail time was particularly absurd in the Carnevales’ case.
“The fact is, it’s not even right to be wearing masks when you’re exercising,” the governor said.
“The World Health Organization advises against it! It’s not healthy to be doing that in the first place, so it was a bad restriction,” he said.
“I think they’ve been treated poorly, but fortunately they’ve got a governor that cares,” he said.