There are more than a few people still split over the decision by Orange County and the state of Florida to allow WWE live shows to continue, having deemed them an “essential service.” One might wonder what is so essential about WWE, even after WWE claims they have continued shows because their decades long history as a television show brings families together and woven them into the fabric of society.
That’s not at all why Florida allowed WWE to go on.
At first, Orange County, Florida Mayor Jerry Demings noted when asked during a press conference Monday that WWE was originally deemed non-essential, but that changed after some talks with the office of Governor Ron DeSantis. He explained:
“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 he Governor’s [stay-at-home] order, they were deemed an essential business. Therefore they were allowed to remain open.”
What is being revealed today is that the decision was based on two things. First, that WWE is operating on a closed set and second, they count as essential businesses of money.
ESPN’s Marc Raimondi reports that he asked Cody McCloud, press secretary for Governor DeSantis, if UFC or a professional boxing match was getting the same tag as WWE. McCloud responded, “The memo does not specify specific sports, as long as the event location is closed to the general public.”
Further to that, a spokesperson from DeSantis office told ESPN on Monday evening that such services were deemed essential “because they are critical to Florida’s economy.” Much like a McDonald’s staying open or a Walmart being accessible, none of these services need to be open for people to survive. But, because they provide an economic plus to the community and the state, they are being given permission to operate.
The List of “Essential Services” Was Updated
The memo sent by the Governor’s office last Thursday, noted that, initially, the only services deemed “essential services” in Florida included health care, food and financial services, communications, transportation and energy services. Added to the list was “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.”
Fans and critics should remember, during a time like this, economies are taking drastic financial hits and anything that can be done or operated safely will likely be able to continue if it brings in revenue for the state. This also opens the door to other sports that can operate in closed-venues to get up and running again.