TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order Thursday that grants clemency to anyone who was arrested or charged for not following COVID-19-related orders in Florida.
DeSantis said he will issue pardons "in light of the unprecedented local government restrictions imposed on individuals and businesses over the course of the past year."
A 6-day reprieve will be granted to any individual 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.
The executive order suspends prosecution and serves as a defense for violations of federal offenses. It does not apply to citations issued by the state.
It also does not apply to assisted living facilities, hospitals, or other healthcare providers.
The order takes effect immediately.
DeSantis suspended all remaining COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandates, earlier this month.
On Thursday, the CDC issued updated guidance saying that Americans who are two weeks removed from their final vaccine shot no longer need to wear masks or social distance. They say that those who have not been vaccinated still should wear masks when in public places and should try to social distance when possible.
This story was originally published by S.E. Jenkins on Scripps station WTXL in Tallahassee, Florida.