WWE Deemed Essential Business by Florida Governor's Office Amid COVID-19

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2020

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 11:  WWE logos are shown on screens before a WWE news conference at T-Mobile Arena on October 11, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was announced that WWE wrestler Braun Strowman will face heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury and WWE champion Brock Lesnar will take on former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez at the WWE's Crown Jewel event at Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on October 31.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has allowed WWE to continue filming at its Performance Center after determining the company to be an essential business. 

Many wondered how DeSantis' stay-at-home order would impact WWE, which has moved all of its televised shows to Orlando, Florida, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings confirmed Monday the promotion received the green light from DeSantis.

"I think initially there was a review that was done and they were not initially deemed an essential business," Demings said, per Wrestling Inc's Marc Middleton. "With some conversation with the Governor's office regarding the Governor's [stay-at-home] order, they were deemed an essential business. Therefore they were allowed to remain open."

Harry @harryaaron

Footage of @OCFLMayor's statement on WWE running live TV tapings within the county right now: https://t.co/6HVJr2TxcO

Some have questioned whether WWE should continue operating, even on a limited basis, as the pandemic has forced sports leagues across the world to go on an indefinite hiatus.

UFC had to cancel UFC 249 on April 18 after California state officials reached out to Disney, one of the company's biggest media partners, to express their reservations about the event, per the New York Times' Kevin Draper and Oskar Garcia.

WWE has avoided the same level of outside attention, however. It staged taped versions of Raw, SmackDown and WrestleMania 36 at the empty Performance Center and will resume live action without fans for Monday's edition of Raw.

The outcry surrounding WWE's current approach grew after Pro Wrestling Sheet's Ryan Satin reported an on-screen talent, who isn't an in-ring performer, tested positive for COVID-19.