Gov. DeSantis blasts local COVID-19 fines as ‘heavy hand of government’
Ron DeSantis. Image via Colin Hackley.

Restrictions have failed, DeSantis said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Lake City Thursday morning, where he defended rescinding local COVID-19 enforcement fines as a move to protect people from the “heavy hand of government” and “out of control” fines.

“I don’t think it’s conservative or liberal. I just think that those fines are out of control and we want to make sure that folks are protected,” DeSantis said.

“Most of those restrictions have not been effective. That’s just the reality,” DeSantis added. “The evidence is in on that.”

“So we want to go forward fresh and we want people to make decisions, but we don’t want it under the heavy hand of government,” the Governor wrapped.

DeSantis memorialized his position Wednesday, via Executive Order 21-65, called a “Clemency Order Regarding Remission of Fines.”

That order asserted that “a categorical, statewide remission of fines related to COVID-19 restrictions is warranted in light of the unprecedented local government restrictions imposed on individuals and businesses over the course of the past year,” and notes that the state Clemency Board approved DeSantis’ proposal to “categorically remit” such fines from March 1, 2020, onward.

Almost all fines are waived here, but one important category is not: fines relative to hospitals, assisted living facilities, and other health care providers.

DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-244 in September 2020, suspending the collection of fines by local governments at the same time he moved the state into Phase 3 reopening.

“I think we need to get away from trying to penalize people for social distancing and just work with people constructively, put out what you want,” he said in September. “But to impose some type of penalty of either … all these fines we’re going to hold in abeyance and hope that we can move forward in a way that’s more collaborative.”

The Governor routinely lambastes “lockdown” states and politicians, and he’s likely to eagerly defend this move as another example of how Florida is “free.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Ron Ogden

    March 11, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    DeSantis puts liberty ahead of coercion and the people before the government. He may be blushing and tittering at the idea of the White House, but he is making it plain that the White House is where he belongs.

  • Frankie M.

    March 11, 2021 at 3:08 pm

    Florida is free of leadership under Ronnie. Like his mentor Donnie he would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle. Never mistake an absence of leadership for the real McCoy. Just because you are a character doesn’t mean you have character.

  • trump lost

    March 12, 2021 at 6:00 am

    “That government is best which remains closest to the people,”
    -President Ronald Reagan

    Desantis leads the Florida chapter of the Trumplakins in an attempt to put the final nail in the party of Reagan by abandoning any illusion of small government.

  • tjb

    March 12, 2021 at 2:08 pm

    DeSantis wants to protect citizens from the heavy hands of government but his anti-protest bill, HB 1, would silence, criminalize, and penalize Floridians for exercising their First Amendment right to protest. Those arrested will face felony charges, no bond, and its limits the criminal liabilty of an individual that kills or seriously injures a protester. His bill is not only heavy-handed and unjust but runs contrary to many of the US Amendments.,

    • worked for a living

      March 14, 2021 at 12:48 pm

      And why would a protester be arrested? For protesting? Where in the bill does it state we will arrest citizens for exercising their first amendment rights? Why are we having this conversation in the first place? Exhibit A: Seattle and Portland. Are you good with business destroyed and looted? Do we need to make sure that doesn’t happen here? I would say yes.

  • Palmer Tom

    March 12, 2021 at 4:48 pm

    why fine people who violated the law?

  • Tom Palmer

    March 13, 2021 at 8:46 am

    Perhaps the gov could redirect his outrage to the heavy-handed legislators who want to strip communities of their local autonomy.

  • Sonja Fitch

    March 14, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    Lol. Duffus Desantis is willingly slaughtering Floridians! Go ahead buy his bs! Lol. Vote Democrat up and down ballot for the elections in 2022

Comments are closed.


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