WWE suspends Orlando production after wrestler tests positive for coronavirus

Bobby Lashley (second-right) fights against Ali during the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Crown Jewel pay-per-view in Riyadh on Oct. 31, 2019. FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has suspended production in Orlando, Fla., after an unnamed developmental talent at the training centre tested positive for the coronavirus.

“A developmental talent, who was last onsite at WWE’s training facility on Tuesday, June 9, has tested positive for COVID-19. Since that time, no other individuals that attended the facility have reported symptoms,” WWE’s associate medical director, Dr. Jeffrey Dugas, said in a statement to People.

“However, out of an abundance of caution and to ensure the health and safety of the company’s performers and staff, all talent, production crew and employees on site at the training and production facilities will be tested for COVID-19 immediately.”

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He said that after it receives the test results, “WWE plans to proceed with its normal television production schedule.”

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Before the unnamed wrestler tested positive for COVID-19, WWE had only been conducting temperature checks with their talent and employees before they entered the Performance Center for television and pay-per-view tapings.

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The WWE originally cancelled all touring in March but was able to tape shows from its training centre in Florida after the state’s governor deemed it an essential business in April.

During a press conference at the time, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings was asked about the WWE being allowed to continue operations, including resuming live television shows.

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

“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.”

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

According to an April 9 memo, the Florida governor’s office deemed WWE employees and media partners “essential” while the rest of the state was 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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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

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.

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. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

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


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