At a press conference April 13, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings (D) told reporters that WWE had initially not been deemed “essential” when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) issued a statewide Safer At Home Order at the start of the month to slow the spread of the COVID-19 disease. The order deemed businesses such as health care, financial, energy, food, communications, and transportation to be essential.
However, after speaking with the governor’s office about the executive order—which runs through to at least April 30—the decision was reversed, allowing them to tape live shows after weeks of airing pre-taped shows.
“I think initially there was a review that was done and they were not initially deemed an essential business,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings told reporters on Monday. “With some conversation with the governor’s office regarding the governor’s order, they have deemed an essential business, and so, therefore, they were allowed to remain open.”
The decision was outlined in an April 9 memo from Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis, which states that: “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,” have now been approved as “essential services.”
A spokesperson for WWE, which shoots “Monday Night Raw” live from a facility in Orlando as well several other shows in the state, told ESPN that it will now be able to go back to taping its matches live again.
“We believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times,” the spokesperson said. “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.”
Earlier this month, WWE confirmed that an employee had tested positive for the CCP virus after working at a taping for Wrestlemania 36 on March 25-26. The company deemed the case as “low risk to WWE talent and staff,” as the individual, along with their roommate, had developed symptoms after going our for dinner with friends who work in the healthcare industry.
The individual immediately went into quarantine and “had no contact with anyone from WWE,” and has since made a “complete recovery,” the WWE said in a statement.