April 11, 2020 | 6:43pm | Updated April 11, 2020 | 8:49pm
WWE has its first case of coronavirus.
The company confirmed that a WWE employee “has tested positive for COVID-19.” According to Pro Wrestling Sheet, the person is an on-screen talent, but not a member of the WWE roster.
“We believe this matter is low risk to WWE talent and staff, as the individual and a roommate became symptomatic in the days following exposure to two people working in acute health care on the evening of March 26, after WWE’s TV production on a closed set was already complete,” WWE said in a statement. “The employee had no contact with anyone from WWE since being exposed to those two individuals, is doing well, and made a complete recovery.”
The employee, according to Pro Wrestling Sheet, went out to dinner with friends after WWE finished its tapings – including WrestleMania 36 – and quarantined immediately after being tested.
The news comes after WWE confirmed its plans to begin live broadcasts without fans again next week after weeks of recording shows in advance on closed sets.
“Monday Night Raw” (USA Network) and “Friday Night SmackDown” (Fox) will be broadcast from the WWE Performance Center and “NXT” (USA Network) will be put on at its regular location of Full Sail University, according to ESPN. Both locations are in the Orlando, Fla., area and the state is currently under a stay-at-home order from Gov. Ron DeSantis that runs through April 30. Only essential businesses are supposed to remain open with the order in effect.
“We believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times,” WWE said in a statement. “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.”
While filming in the weeks leading up to WrestleMania 36, WWE had put a number of coronavirus precautions in place, including taking every person’s temperature before entering the Performance Center and practicing social distancing backstage, but are not testing employees for COVID-19 when they arrive.
Roman Reigns, who has battled leukemia and is immunocompromised, pulled out of WrestleMania 36 because of concerns over his health. The decision reportedly came after The Miz showed up to a taping not feeling well. The Miz did not work WrestleMania 36.
WWE resumes taping with much of the rest of the pro wrestling world on pause and after the UFC was pressured by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, ESPN and Disney into canceling UFC 249 and ultimately suspending all events.
All Elite Wrestling, which airs “Dynamite” on Wednesday’s on TNT, has reportedly taped enough footage for weeks on closed sets in Florida and Georgia. Impact Wrestling had tapings without fans scheduled for Skyline Studios in Nashville this week in hopes of getting 6-8 weeks for television for its weekly show in AXS TV, according to PW Insider.