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DeSantis Pushes Through Pardon for COVID-19 Violators

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Florida state budget at an event in New Smyrna Beach on Wednesday. Image: Florida Channel


With Governor Ron DeSantis saying COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and mask mandates did more harm than good, the state clemency board on Wednesday pardoned all Floridians who were arrested or fined for violating local-government requirements about wearing masks or social distancing.

It’s not clear how many residents will be impacted by Wednesday’s decision, but the board’s move follows an executive order DeSantis issued May 3rd suspending all local government’s restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This action is necessary so that we can recover, have a good transition to normal operations, and also just a recognition that a lot of this stuff was way, way overboard.”

Mike and Jillian Carnevale, who attended Wednesday’s meeting in Tallahassee, owned a gym in Broward County and were arrested several times last summer for refusing to enforce a Broward County mask mandate at their facility.

“We are business owners; we are not criminals. It feels really good to know that we can move forward. I can start to rebuild my life and rebuild my business without this hanging over my head.”

DeSantis has garnered national attention for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and has become a hero to many Republicans for his push to keep schools open and to reopen the state’s economy.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat running to unseat the Republican governor in 2022, was the only member of the Board of Executive Clemency to oppose the move.


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