It looks like WWE fought the law and the law won. According to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demmings, WWE has been officially designated as an "essential" business, allowing them to continue producing live episodes of their weekly television programs at the WWE Performance Center. Demmings went on to say that WWE was initially not considered "essential" but that the decision was reversed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
"Initially, there was a review that was done and they were not initially deemed an essential business," said Demmings in a press conference updating residents on the coronavirus crisis. "With some conversation with the Governor's office regarding the Governor's order, they were deemed an essential business. And so, therefore, they were allowed to remain open."
WWE is Really Just a "Small Family" of Wrasslers
Demmings went on to speak about the WWE on-air talent that tested positive for COVID-19, referring to the billion dollar corporation as like "a small family" and saying he "assumed" they were taking the necessary precautions. "In terms of the specifics associated with the 'wrassler' or personality who tested positive, I don't know any of the details of that, obviously. Because of HIPPA laws, I don't know that. You know, that's like a little family, a small family of professional athletes that wrestle. If one of my family members tested positive in my house, that would be concerning to me. We would have to make some provisions in my house to make sure that the rest of us do not get infected. So I would assume from a business perspective that the WWE is doing that type of analysis of its own family."
Contrary to Demming's assumptions, many have questioned the wisdom of WWE continuing to run live shows out of the Performance Center when they could easily tape many weeks worth of shows in a shorter time frame. Airing live requires wrestlers and crew to travel to and from the Performance Center, sometimes from out of state. However, it has been speculated that taping shows could affect WWE's television contracts and thus their primary source of revenue right now.
It's also interesting that WWE was seemingly granted a special exemption by the Governor's office. The McMahon family does wield considerable political power. Vince and Linda McMahon were big donors to President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, landing Linda a spot in the cabinet as head of the Small Business Administration before she left that post to run a Trump reelection Super PAC. DeSantis, a Republican, is an ally of President Trump, who is also a longtime friend of the McMahons and a member of the WWE Hall of Fame. Watch the full press conference below. The WWE question comes up at around the 31:50 mark.