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Gov. Ron DeSantis is Pardoning Anyone Who Violated Mask Mandates, Social Distancing Guidelines in Florida

    Gov. Ron DeSantis is issuing clemency to Floridians who were arrested for refusing to follow or enforce mask mandates and social distancing guidelines.

    “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will grant clemency Thursday to gym owners in the state who were arrested for refusing to enforce a mask mandate and social distancing protocols at their gym—and will soon pardon all other Floridians who violated local Covid-19 orders,” Forbes reported.

    “Former gym owner Michael Carnevale denied a plea deal in March over charges of not enforcing Broward’s mask mandate,” Local 10 noted. Now, he will get reprieve from the governor.

    But not just that — all Floridians who violated such COVID guidelines are being pardoned.

    “All Floridians who violated mask or social distancing orders during the COVID-19 pandemic are getting a pardon, Gov. Ron DeSantis says,” Local 10 reported.

    “DeSantis appeared on Fox News late Wednesday night as host Laura Ingraham interviewed Mike Carnevale, the Plantation gym owner who was arrested three times for refusing to enforce Broward County’s mask mandate at his business last summer,” the report continued.

    “DeSantis told Carnevale and his wife Jillian, who was also arrested, that on Thursday he will be granting them a reprieve to delay the case for 60 days, and then ultimately they will get clemency,” the report added.

    DeSantis is also pushing back against federal agencies that overstepped their authority during the pandemic.

    Last week, DeSantis revealed the progress of a lawsuit against the CDC  in a press conference at Satellite Beach, which followed up on his earlier statement in April about the governor’s intent to sue the CDC.

    “But I can tell you this, our state was predicted to get hit worse on Covid economically than any other state because of our service economy and our tourism base,” he said. “And what we were able to do by keeping Florida open, we saved hundreds of thousands of jobs in the restaurant, hotel, hospitality industry. We saved thousands of businesses.  You know how I know that? Because every time I go out, someone will come up to me and say, ‘Thank you for saving my job,’ or ‘Thank you for saving my business.’ So we’ve been able now with 4.7 percent unemployment, that’s significantly less than the national average of 6% and way less than lockdown states like New York and California have.”

    While Governor DeSantis’s clemency for COVID rule violators is considered “controversial” to those who feel it is the role of government to issue arbitrary decrees for the public’s “good,” the opponents of DeSantis’s clemency for the gym owners and other business owners overlook one important fact: No one forces customers to take the risk of frequenting a business during a pandemic.

    DeSantis is preserving a vision for the role of government consistent with the U.S. Constitution and a free market, which is the real reason for the left-wing media’s opposition to the governor. But as Gov. DeSantis’s superior track record of COVID management becomes clearer, and his strong reputation with Republicans continues to grow, there is only one thing that can be said to his detractors about his popularity: Get used to it.


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    OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.