World Wrestling Entertainment has been deemed an “essential business” in Florida and will resume filming live shows without an audience.
The WWE was initially deemed to be non-essential, but Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings announced on Monday that their status was changed after discussion with Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“I think initially there was a review that was done. They were not initially deemed an essential business,” Demings said. “With some conversation with the governor’s office regarding the governor’s order, they were deemed an essential business. So therefore they were allowed to remain open.”
The state is currently under a stay-at-home order for all non-essential business, but the officials decided that the WWE is too important to Florida’s economy to stay shut down.
According to a report from the Washington Examiner, an update to the list of essential workers now includes “employees at a professional sports and media production with a national audience — including any athletes, entertainers, production team, executive team, media team and any others necessary to facilitate including services supporting such production — only if the location is closed to the general public.” A spokesperson for the governor’s office told the website that these changes were made because they are “critical to Florida’s economy.”
The live shows will include Monday Night Raw, NXT on Wednesday, and Smackdown on Friday.
“We believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times,” WWE said in a statement to ESPN. “We are producing content on a closed set with only essential personnel in attendance following appropriate guidelines while taking additional precautions to ensure the health and wellness of our performers and staff. As a brand that has been woven into the fabric of society, WWE and its Superstars bring families together and deliver a sense of hope, determination and perseverance.”
The wrestling organization has already had one employee test positive for the coronavirus and they are currently self-quarantined.
“A WWE employee has tested positive for COVID-19. We believe this matter is low risk to WWE talent and staff, as the individual and a roommate became symptomatic in the days following exposure to two people working in acute health care on the evening of March 26, after WWE’s TV production on a closed set was already complete. The employee had no contact with anyone from WWE since being exposed to those two individuals, is doing well, and made a complete recovery,” the organization said in a statement.