Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis granted two Broward County gym owners clemency Wednesday for not enforcing a mask mandate during the coronavirus pandemic and vowed to pardon all Floridians with similar outstanding infractions.
Mike Carnevale, the now-former owner of Fitness 1440 in Plantation, and his wife, Jillian, were arrested numerous times last summer and appeared before a judge in March for failing to comply with the county’s mask mandates, WTVJ-TV reported.
“It’s a total overreach, Laura,” DeSantis told “The Ingraham Angle” host Laura Ingraham on Wednesday.
“This is exactly what we ordered against last summer, many, many months ago.”
The Carnevales were also on Ingraham’s show and DeSantis addressed them directly when he talked about their case.
“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,” the governor 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.”
“They’re looking to put us in jail for this and we’re not backing down,” he said.
“We have an attorney that’s going to fight all the way to the end, I’m going to fight all the way to the end.”
Jillian Carnevale was also arrested during a peaceful protest outside of their closed business.
DeSantis pointed out that the World Health Organization advises against wearing masks while working out.
“It’s not healthy for people to be doing that in the first place, 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,” he said.
“I think they’ve been treated poorly, and fortunately, they got a governor that cares.”
The WHO’s website does advise against wearing masks during physical activity because it reduces breathing capacity.
“No fines, no penalties, we’ve got to move forward as a state. We are the oasis of freedom, that’s why Florida is doing well,” DeSantis said.
“So let’s build off that and let’s not go backwards on any of this stuff.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.