Coronavirus: How has sport been affected?

WWE ruled an ‘essential business’ allowing wrestlers to return to the ring during coronavirus crisis

WWE filmed a number of shows in March behind closed doors before being put in lockdown but they have received the green light to resume live shows

Jack de Menezes
Sports News Correspondent
Tuesday 14 April 2020 09:12

The mayor of Orange County, Florida, has ruled the WWE an “essential business” that will enable wrestlers to return to the ring and film new shows for Raw and Smackdown Live at their Performance Center.

The WWE were part of the coronavirus lockdown in the county that saw a stay-at-home order implemented at the start of the month, which prevented all travel apart from essential shopping and journeys for health reasons.

The measures were implemented until 13 April at the very least in an effort to prevent the spread of Covid-19, with the WWE not initially viewed as essential travel.

But Mayor Jerry Demings confirmed on Monday that a review has taken place and deemed the WWE an “essential business”, which will allow the Performance Center to reopen to enable live shows to be filmed without an audience.

"I think initially there was a review that was done and they were not initially deemed an essential business," Orange County Mayor Demings told reporters.

"With some conversation with the governor's office regarding the governor's order, they were deemed an essential business and so therefore they were allowed to remain open."

A memo sent out on 9 April by Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis confirmed that the WWE had been granted permission to start filming live shows once more, which followed a conference call involving President Trump and leading officials of the United States’s major sports, which included WWE chief executive Vince McMahon, in an effort to restart sporting events.

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

Vince McMahon was on a call with Donald Trump earlier this month (Getty)

WWE filmed a number of shows in the penultimate week of March that included a number of matches for WrestleMania 36, which was then broadcast over two days on the first weekend of April.

As of Monday, the US has 577,307 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and 23,232 people have died, with around 470 of those coming in Florida.

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