BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — Charges were dropped Tuesday against a south Florida gym owner who refused to close down or enforce mask ordinances during the pandemic.
Mike Carnevale was arrested three times for violating state COVID-19 regulations — charges against his wife Jillian were also dropped.
Carnevale said he was looking at 6 months in jail.
“They handcuffed me. And then after they cuffed me they put a mask on me and put me into the cop car,” said Jillian.
However, she said she was “overwhelmed with relief.”
“People have a right to earn a living and feed their families,” said Mike Carnevale explaining why he violated the state’s restrictions.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said the state clemency board will issue pardons for any Floridian who was fined or prosecuted for not following mask or social distancing rules.
Several counties in Florida had emergency ordinances and rules to stop the spread of COVID-19 — up until recently.
“I don’t think it is conservative or liberal,” said DeSantis. “I just think those fines are out of control. And we want to make sure that folks are protected.”
A polar opposite approach continues in California, where despite the new CDC guidelines, Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state won’t lift their mask ordinance until June 15.
But for the Carnevales, they say defying the local laws and keeping their gym open was all about staying afloat.
“We were looking to maintain good on our lease and pay our bills,” said Mike Carnevale. “That is what this really was about.”