Gov. DeSantis responds to WWE being deemed an ‘essential business’

Governor said he is open to more sporting events with no crowds in Florida

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday answered a question about why the World Wrestling Entertainment was deemed an ‘essential business" amid the spread of the coronavirus.

“Obviously WWE, there is no crowd or anything, so it’s a very small amount of people. We look at it on a case-by-case basis,“ DeSantis said.

The WWE filmed a live episode of Monday Night Raw without an audience from its Performance Center in the Orlando area.

The company plans to keep filming live shows.

Before WWE was listed as an essential business, deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office visited the Performance Center and told crews they would have to close down.

Amid the spread of COVID-19, WWE has taped shows in Orange County and featured two nights of Wrestlemania on its online network.

DeSantis’ office sent News 6 a memo dated April 9 from the Division of Emergency Management that said “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.”

The Associated Press reports a WWE employee tested positive for the coronavirus a couple of weeks ago.

The WWE told the AP the employee and their roommate were exposed to people who work in acute health care on March 26, according to the Associated Press.

WWE said the employee made a full recovery and did not have any contact with anyone in the company after the employee met with the workers in acute health care, according to the AP.

Gov. DeSantis said he is open to supporting more sporting events with no crowds.

“If NASCAR does a race and can televise it without having a large crowd, I think that’s a good thing,“ he said.

He also mentioned he would be open to seeing a Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson golf challenge in the state.

“We wouldn’t have a gallery there, you wouldn’t have crowds. But to put that on TV, I think people have been starved for content,” DeSantis said.

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