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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Florida clears WWE for live shows, opens up state to sports without fans

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If you’re wondering where sports leagues might be able to resume seasons amid the coronavirus situation, Florida could very well be a leading candidate.

Florida is under shelter-in-place orders for the month of April. During that time, only businesses deemed “essential” are allowed to continue operations — ones in the health care, financial, energy, food, communications and transportation sectors. But the governor has now added professional sports and media productions with national audiences to the list of permissible businesses, so long as the location is closed to the public.

Florida’s governor stated the following in an April 9 memo:

“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 new rule allows the WWE to continue filming live shows from its Orlando training facility. The governor’s office told ESPN that the WWE was allowed to continue business because it is essential to the state’s economy.

The WWE issued a statement about the matter.

“We believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times,” WWE said. “We are producing content on a closed set with only essential personnel in attendance following appropriate guidelines while taking additional precautions to ensure the health and wellness of our performers and staff. As a brand that has been woven into the fabric of society, WWE and its Superstars bring families together and deliver a sense of hope, determination and perseverance.”

The UFC has been looking to continue hosting fight cards and was shut down by California in an effort to circumvent the state’s shelter-in-place rules by hosting fights on tribal land. They may want to check into hosting fights in Florida because it sounds like they would be allowed to do so.

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