Gov. Ron DeSantis plans to pardon those arrested for violating COVID-19 restrictions

Governor's executive order grants 60-day reprieve to any person, business charged, convicted of violations
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at St. John the Apostle School in Hialeah, May 11, 2021
Posted at 9:29 AM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 09:34:29-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Thursday granting a 60-day reprieve to any person or business arrested for or convicted of violating any county or municipal coronavirus restrictions.

The governor's executive order applies to any individual who or business that "has been or could be arrested for, charged with, found guilty of, convicted of, subject to a withhold of adjudication for, subject to a plea of guilty or nolo contendere for, or otherwise subject to a criminal sentence or penalty for all non-violent offenses related to local government COVID-19 restrictions."

That includes a Broward County gym owner who was arrested several times for not enforcing the mask mandate amid the pandemic.

During an appearance Wednesday night on Fox News, DeSantis called the arrests of Mike Carnevale and his wife a "total overreach."

"It's not even right to be wearing masks when you're exercising," DeSantis said. "The World Health Organization advises against it. It's not healthy for people to be doing that in the first place, so it was a bad restriction."

The governor's order states that it "shall serve as a defense to the prosecution and execution of sentence of the individuals and businesses."

It also buys DeSantis and the clemency board time to issue full pardons.

The order does not apply to assisted-living facilities, hospitals or other health care centers.