With WWE set to resume live tapings of its television programs as the governor for Florida has declared the promotion to be an “essential” business.
While there is plenty of criticism coming WWE‘s way for continuing to host events during the coronavirus pandemic, and now set to resume a live programming schedule, the governor of Florida has declared the WWE to be an “essential” business.
WWE confirmed that they would begin to resume live broadcasts of its programs at an empty WWE Performance Center in Orlando, FL, beginning with the WWE Raw show set to take place tonight, Monday, April 13. This announcement came despite a state government order in late March that declared Florida residents must stay at home, with only essential businesses remaining open.
Per Sean Ross Sapp and Fightful, WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon “aggressively” made the decision despite disapproval from some of the promotion’s talents. McMahon also reportedly gave letters to some stating they were considered “essential media” in case if they were questioned.
Now, via a press conference with Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings (Orlando is located in the county), it appears the WWE has been given the blessing to continue live programming at the Performance Center by Florida governor Ron DeSantis.
“Originally, they were not 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.”
This decision from WWE also comes despite a confirmed report that an on-air talent — albeit not a WWE superstar or active roster member — tested positive for coronavirus.
Back in mid-March, it was reported that the global coronavirus pandemic resulted in the WWE pre-taping a number of their shows, including both nights of WrestleMania 36, as well as the Raw after WrestleMania.
Also potentially playing a role in WWE’s decision to resume live broadcasts may be its television contracts. Fightful further reports that USA and FOX (which broadcast Raw and SmackDown, respectively, in the United States) require WWE to only have a certain number of taped shows per year.