Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he plans to pardon residents who have been punished for violating local coronavirus restrictions that require people to wear face masks and practice social distancing in public.
The Republican governor made the announcement late Wednesday while speaking about Mike and Jillian Carnevale, former Broward County gym owners who were arrested for violating the mask mandate.
“I’m going to sign a reprieve under my constitutional authority, so that will delay the case for 60 days against both of them,” Mr. DeSantis said about the Carnevales during an interview on Fox News.
“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,” he said.
Mr. DeSantis added that he believes locally imposed measures requiring people to wear masks in public is “total overreach” and that he opposes punishing Floridians for not following through.
“These things with health should be advisory, they should not be punitive,” Ms. DeSantis told Fox News host and conservative commentator Laura Ingraham during the interview.
Public health experts recommend people wear face masks and practice social distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the contagious respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, said Thursday that people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear a mask outdoors unless in large crowds.
“We’ve got to make that transition. If you are vaccinated, you don’t have to wear a mask outside,” he said on “CBS This Morning.” “If you’re going into a completely crowded situation where people are essentially falling all over each other, then you wear a mask. But any other time, if you’re vaccinated and you’re outside, but aside your mask. You don’t have to wear it.”
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