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WWE deemed an ‘essential business’ during COVID-19 outbreak, says Florida mayor

Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman and AJ Styles celebrate victory during the WWE Live Tokyo at Ryogoku Kokugikan on June 29, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) was deemed an “essential business” during the coronavirus pandemic in Florida by the state’s governor, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said on Monday.

During a press conference, Demings was asked about the WWE being allowed to continue operations, including resuming live television shows from its Orlando training facility.

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He revealed that the WWE was originally deemed non-essential but that that decision changed after a discussion with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

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READ MORE: Roman Reigns pulls out of WrestleMania 36 due to coronavirus concerns

“I think, initially, there was a review that was done, and they were not initially deemed an essential business,” Demings said. “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.”

According to an April 9 memo, the Florida governor’s office deemed WWE employees and its media partners “essential” while the rest of the state is under a “Safer at Home” order through the end of April.

“Employees at a professional sports and media production with a national audience — including 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” were permitted to continue operations, according to the memo.

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WWE resumed live taping of its shows Monday after only airing taped matches for weeks.

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

READ MORE: Coronavirus: WrestleMania 36 is still happening — but without any fans

WWE previously announced that WrestleMania 36 would still go ahead but there would be no fans in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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WrestleMania 36 was originally supposed to take place in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., but WWE moved the event to its training centre in Orlando.

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The event was streamed live on April 5 at 7 p.m. and included extra precautions, such as requiring talent and staff to undergo medical screenings.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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