Florida Just Declared Pro Wrestling an 'Essential Business'

In normal times, the phrase “essential business” probably wouldn’t conjure up images of large men in tights pretending to beat on each other for entertainment. As we all know, these are not normal times. Still, it might come as a surprise to learn that after weeks of pre-taped matches, WWE has resumed airing live events from its training facility in Orlando, Florida.

Florida, like much of the United States, is under a stay-at-home order through the end of the month. Essential businesses such as supermarkets, clinics, banks, pharmacies, and the like are allowed to remain open, but people are generally supposed to be avoiding unnecessary contact with others—because of, you know, the global pandemic. Wrestling entertainment was not considered essential under the order declared by Florida’s Republican governor, Ron Desantis.

Until it was.

“Originally, they were not deemed an essential business,” Orange County Mayor Demmings said during a press conference. “With some conversation with the governor’s office regarding the governor’s order, they were deemed an essential business.” According to CNN, an order signed last Thursday allows professional sports and media production with a national audience may continue as long as the locations are closed to the general public.

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And so the WWE show will go on. Last night’s Monday Night RAW aired from an empty arena.

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

It’s also worth noting that WWE confirms one employee tested positive for coronavirus; that unnamed employee is said to have made a full recovery. So overall it seems like everything’s going fine, there’s clearly nothing to worry about, and we can all kick back and enjoy some wrasslin’.

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