Gov. DeSantis will pardon ALL Floridians being prosecuted for failing to wear masks or socially distance as he surprises couple on Fox with the announcement after they were arrested for not enforcing COVID rules at their gym
- Ron DeSantis appeared on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show on Wednesday
- He spoke alongside gym owners Mike and Jillian Carnevale, arrested four times
- The couple refused to enforce COVID restrictions in their Plantation gym
- DeSantis announced on air they were being granted clemency for their arrests
- He said all Floridians who were charged with COVID crimes will get a reprieve
- The exact number of people affected by DeSantis’s clemency is unclear
- In Miami-Dade County 2,100 incidents were recorded, and 4,000 in Naples
Florida‘s governor on Wednesday night announced live on air clemency for everyone in his state who is being punished for violating COVID rules.
Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of the state, appeared on Fox News to make the announcement.
He was flanked by Mike and Jillian Carnevale, gym owners from Plantation who were repeatedly arrested for refusing to enforce a mask mandate.
Ron DeSantis appeared on Fox News on Wednesday night to make his announcement
DeSantis announced that he was granting clemency to the Carnevales (left)
Mike Carnevale was first arrested on July 27, for what their supporters, in a GoFundMe page to pay their legal costs, described as ‘taking a stand for the health and freedom of his community and country’.
He was arrested twice more, on August 6, and August 7, for not enforcing facial coverings during strenuous exercise. Jillian Carnevale was also arrested on August 7.
The couple will be granted clemency, DeSantis said, describing the punishment as ‘a total overreach’ – and the same deal will be granted to everyone in his state.
‘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,’ he 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.’
Demonstrators march through Sanford, Florida on July 1 in a protest against lockdown
Floridians have strongly pushed back against CDC guidelines during the pandemic
Florida, hard-hit by the pandemic in the early days, was lax about restrictions by April 2021
Partygoers flocked to the state in March and April, to flaunt CDC guidelines without fear
Florida is the first state in the U.S. to issue such a clemency, and DeSantis has positioned himself throughout the pandemic as a pro-Trump bulwark against Democrat ‘authoritarianism’.
The number of people affected remains unclear.
Miami-Dade County issued 1,882 citations totaling $760,600, The Orlando Sentinel reported.
Another 215 citations totaling $109,650 were issued by the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department, comprising 45 per cent of the $1,940,162 in fines tallied by DeSantis’ office.
In Naples, 3,996 citations worth $789,762 were issued, nearly 41 per cent of the total.
Overall, 52 out of 67 counties and 212 out of more than 400 municipalities responded to the Sentinel’s inquiry.
A protester in Volusia County, angered by a rule that masks must be worn inside schools
In metro Orlando, no fines were issued.
Orange County did report 13 arrests of people who violated the curfew when it was in effect, the paper said.
Police in Kissimmee made one arrest for violating curfew in March.
Altamonte Springs reported citing one business owner for breaking social distancing rules under the Seminole County order, but the typical $500 fine wasn’t issued because the owner later complied with the order.
Along the Space Coast, $34,000 in fines were recorded, mainly for parking.