World Wrestling Entertainment is now considered an “essential business” in the Sunshine State.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Tuesday that sports and entertainment companies can be declared “essential” on a “case-by-case basis.”
Although the WWE was not initially deemed an essential business in Florida when DeSantis issued a state stay-at-home order in early April, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings (D) told reporters at a Monday press briefing that had changed.
According to Demings, after “some conversation with the governor’s office” regarding the executive order, the professional wrestling company was deemed an essential business and allowed to remain open.
The subject came up when a reporter asked Demings on Monday if WWE — which has been filming live events without an audience at its Orlando, Florida training facility — was considered essential.
WWE recently confirmed that one of its employees had tested positive for COVID-19 after working at one such event.
In response, Demings likened WWE to “a small family of professional athletes.”
“If one of my family members tested positive in my house that would be concerning to me,” Demings said. “We would have to make some provisions in my house to make sure [the rest of us] don’t get infected. So, I would assume that from a business perspective the WWE is doing its own analysis of its own family.”
The decision is also outlined in a memo from DeSantis’ office last week that specifically describes but doesn’t explicitly name WWE.
According to the memo, recent additions to the list of “essential services” include “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.”
This is exactly what WWE has been doing since March.
A spokesperson for the Florida governor’s office told ESPN Monday that these new services were added to the list of essential businesses “because they are critical to Florida’s economy.”