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WWE deemed "essential business", allowed continue behind closed doors

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

4:09 PM - 14 Apr 2020



WWE's Monday Night Raw aired live from the company's Performance Centre in Florida on Monday night, despite a "shelter-in-place" order in the state.

How was this allowed occur? Because, according to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings - the WWE is now considered an "essential business".

On April 1, Governor Ron DeSantis announced an executive order, in place until April 30, limiting all activity in Florida to essential services.

Monday's edition of Raw is believed to have been WWE's first taping since the executive order was signed as Wrestlemania and the following week's television episodes were all taped in advance.

All tapings have taken place with no fans present, and in certain cases on closed sets.

Since those tapings, WWE announced that a non in-ring performer was confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19, but has since made a full recovery.

To limit the spread of coronavirus, both Hollywood and Broadway have shut down, yet WWE continues to produce television.

Mayor Demings was questioned on the latter point at a press conference on Monday.

"I think initially there was a review that was done and they were not initially deemed an essential business," Demings told the press.

"With some conversation with the governor’s office regarding the governor’s [stay-at-home] order, they were deemed an essential business.

"Therefore, they were allowed to remain open."

The nature of that conversation and how they arrived at the "essential business" decision with the Republican governor were not disclosed.

Orange County confirmed on Tuesday that decision to allow WWE film was a state and not a county call.

This week is already set to be one of the rockiest of WWE owner Vince McMahon's career.

On Monday, his XFL filed for bankruptcy after coronavirus cancelled its season.

On Tuesday night, Vice's latest episode of Dark Side Of The Ring will examine WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy Snuka's role in the 1983 death of Nancy Argentino along with McMahon's depth of knowledge of the facts related to the case.

Gov. DeSantis is a self-confessed disciple of US President Donald Trump, and has often been referred to as "mini-Trump".

While WWE is owned by Vince McMahon, his wife Linda McMahon also served as company CEO until 2009 before stepping down for a failed US Senate run.

The McMahons and Trump have long been associated, with Wrestlemanias IV and V both being hosted by the now president in Atlantic City in 1988 and '89.

Since then, Trump was a de facto performer at Wrestlemania 23 and has been inducted into their Hall of Fame.

For those appearances, the McMahons donated $5million to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which made them its biggest donors up to 2014.

Linda McMahon currently serves as chair of America First Action, a super-political action committee (super PAC) whose aim is Trump's re-election in November of this year.

The super PAC is hoping to raise $300million for Trumps's campaign. According to Politico, they raised $17.8million in the first half of 2019.

Such super PAC's are deemed separate from official campaigns, and are legally allowed to raise limitless amounts of cash, provided they name the donors.

Prior to being appointed chair of America First Action, Linda McMahon was one of Trump's first cabinet appointees, as head of the Small Business Administration.

While the McMahons remain crucial to Trump's re-election finances, Gov. DeSantis maintains that WWE can still operate in his state "because they are critical to Florida’s economy".



Read more about

Coronavirus Covid-19 Donald Trump Florida Linda McMahon Ron DeSantis Vince McMahon WWE

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