Florida declares professional wrestling an ‘essential service’


Count professional wrestling among the essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies that can stay open despite coronavirus-related restrictions statewide.

WWE will continue taping and airing live from the empty WWE Performance Center near Orlando even during the state’s month-long “shelter-in-place,” which Gov. Ron DeSantis announced April 1.

At a press conference Monday, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings was asked whether WWE would continue operations. He said that WWE was not originally deemed an “essential business,” a designation allowing it to stay open during the state’s “shelter-in-place” order. However, a conversation with DeSantis changed that.

“I think initially there was a review that was done and they were not initially deemed an essential business. With some conversation with the governor’s office regarding the governor’s [stay-at-home] order, they were deemed an essential business,” Demings said. “Therefore, they were allowed to remain open.”

The statewide stay-at-home order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on April 3 and expires on April 30, when the governor could extend it. The order reduces restaurants to takeout orders and closes most other businesses like shops and movie theaters, but does allow people to exercise outdoors, take care of pets and loved ones and gather for religious purposes, the last of which has drawn some criticism from public health officials and other leaders across the state.