Florida's clemency board has issued pardons to anyone who received local fines for masks and social distancing violations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The board's move follows an executive order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis which suspended all pandemic restrictions.
In a statement Wednesday, DeSantis said the full pardon applies to civil and criminal penalties given to individuals or businesses "punished for breaking unscientific, unnecessary directives."
DeSantis cited the case of a Broward County gym owner who was arrested several times for not enforcing mask orders. The governor had already granted clemency to Mike Carnevale and his wife Jillian, who operated Fitness 1440 in Plantation.
"Floridians like Mike and Jillian Carnevale should have never faced criminal charges for not requiring masks in their businesses," DeSantis said. "Today, we took action in Florida to reject the overreach of local authorities through unnecessary and unscientific mask mandates. No business should face economic ruin and be punished for alleged violations of local orders that are unreasonably restrictive of rights and liberties."
It's unknown how many Floridians will be affected by the measure.
The only member of the board to vote against the pardons was Florida's Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the state's only statewide elected Democrat who announced earlier this month that she was entering the 2022 governor's race.