Appearing Wednesday on Fox News with Florida gym owners Mike and Jillian Carnevale, who were arrested on several occasions and threatened with months in prison for allowing people to enter their business without a face mask, DeSantis said he would overrule the “total overreach” against them.
“This is exactly what we ordered against last summer, many months ago,” the governor declared, before announcing that “effective tomorrow morning” he would “sign a reprieve under my constitutional authority” that would “delay the case for sixty days.”
DeSantis then also revealed that in the coming weeks he would “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, it’s not even right to be wearing masks when you’re exercising,” he argued, noting that the World Health Organization “advises against it” and those coronavirus restrictions “should be advisory.”
DeSantis – a close ally to former President Donald Trump – has been a staunch opponent of authoritarian practices during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier this month, DeSantis also banned all businesses and government buildings from requiring Floridians to disclose their vaccination status in order to enter – a more complete ban than other governors, who merely prohibited government buildings, but not private companies, from requiring vaccine passports.