Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to Pardon Anyone Charged for Violating Mask, Distancing Mandates

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks the media at a coronavirus vaccination site at Lakewood Ranch Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

05-13-2021Tré Goins-Phillips, Faithwire, CBN News

Mike and Jillian Carnevale — owners of a 24-hour fitness center in southeastern Florida — received welcome news Wednesday, when Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said he would pardon them for defying county ordinances mandating masks and social distancing.

The announcement from DeSantis came during an appearance on Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s show, where the couple was discussing their case in Broward County, which implemented strict measures when the Republican governor lifted COVID-19 restrictions on businesses across the state (he lifted all remaining mandates in early May).

As a result of the mask and distancing ordinances put in place in Broward County, Mike Carnevale has been arrested three times for allegedly defying mask mandates at his Fitness 1440 franchise in Plantation, according to a local NBC News affiliate.

He told the news outlet last summer it is “not possible to strictly enforce facial coverings while exercising,” later adding those in the fitness industry “understand that’s not safe” and is “something we can’t subscribe to anymore.”

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Mike Carnevale was arrested alongside his wife in August of last year after they moved all their workout equipment outside because they refused to order their patrons to wear face masks while they exercised.

The Carnevales told Ingraham they were arrested 24 hours after filing a lawsuit against the county for its mask mandate, requiring residents to cover their noses and mouths while participating in arduous exercises.

Cory Strolla, the attorney representing the couple, told the Fox News host he’s dealing with a “political activist judge” determined to jail the Carnevales.

DeSantis, for his part, condemned Broward County officials for their “total overreach,” telling the couple he will pardon them as well as anyone else criminally charged for violating mask or distancing rules.

“This is exactly what we ordered against last summer,” the governor said. “I’m glad you have Mike and Jillian on, and I’m also glad to be on to be able to say that, effective [Thursday] morning, I’m going to sign a reprieve under my constitutional authority.”

His action will delay the case from moving forward for 60 days.

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DeSantis explained that, when the Sunshine State’s clemency board meets on June 16, members 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,” he said, “it’s not even right to be wearing masks when you’re exercising. 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.”

DeSantis added he believes health guidances should be “advisory” rather than “punitive.”

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Steve Martin

STEVE & LAURIE MARTIN - LOVE FOR HIS PEOPLE FOUNDERS My good wife Laurie and I (43 years in October 2020!), through the ministry of Love For His People we founded in 2010, give love and support for our friends in Israel and in other nations with friendship, humanitarian aid, and social media support, along with Steve's NOW THINK ON THIS messages, and our Ahava Adventures annual trips to Israel. Steve has also authored and published 31 books. We live in the Charlotte, NC area, along with four adult children, spouses, and eight grandkids.

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