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14 Apr, 2020 10:41

WWE deemed 'essential business' in Florida, will continue to operate live shows despite coronavirus lockdown

WWE deemed 'essential business' in Florida, will continue to operate live shows despite coronavirus lockdown

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has been designated as an 'essential business' in Florida and will continue to operate live events alongside other indispensable services, per a local government official in the state.

WWE has long preached a 'show must go on' mentality. Terrorist attacks, natural disasters and even the death of one of their performers during a show couldn't get Vince McMahon's traveling road show taken off the air, even temporarily, so what chance a global pandemic?

In contrast to practically every other sport in the United States, the WWE has been granted dispensation by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings to continue operating live events from its Performance Center in Orange County, potentially opening the door to other sports resuming operations in the state. 

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The organization has filmed several live shows behind closed doors in the state, including their annual showcase event 'WrestleMania', and had outlined plans to continue filming their 'Raw' and 'SmackDown' television shows for the foreseeable future. 

However, this hit a potential roadblock when they were not deemed exempt from the state-wide shelter-in-place order which runs until at least April 30. This decision was reversed following discussions with Governor Ron DeSantis' office, Demings stated on Monday.

WWE will now operate alongside other essential businesses and services, such as those in the healthcare, food and transportation sectors.

The language, per a memo issued by the governor's office added to the list of essential services: "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."

It is understood that WWE has been deemed an essential business because of its importance to the Florida economy. 

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"We believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times," WWE said in a statement. "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."

So far, one WWE talent has been reported to have tested positive for coronavirus. Another of the company's stars, a performer called Roman Reigns, reportedly refused to compete at the recent WrestleMania event despite being booked into a high-profile match due to him have recently recovered from a real-life bout of leukemia.