WWE will resume live television shows beginning next week despite the coronavirus pandemic, a spokesperson confirmed Saturday with ESPN.
Starting Monday with its Raw program, WWE will run live shows without fans after several weeks of taped programming, which included WrestleMania 36 earlier this month.
WWE has three TV shows per week: Raw (on USA Network), NXT (USA Network) on Wednesday and SmackDown (Fox) on Friday.
Raw and SmackDown are reportedly expected to air live from WWE's training facility in Orlando, Florida. NXT is reportedly expected to be live from Full Sail University, its usual home, in Winter Park, Florida.
Pro Wrestling Sheet was the first to report the news of WWE's live shows resuming Friday.
"Only essential personnel" will be allowed at the venues, a WWE statement to ESPN said.
"We believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times," the statement 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."
Not many people flying today! I called the airline and said, "What time does your flight to Orlando leave?" They said, "What time can you be here?" #LiveRawTonight pic.twitter.com/lHF9zJYIT8— Jerry Lawler (@JerryLawler) April 13, 2020
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order for the state April 1, which runs through April 30. Only essential businesses are supposed to remain open during that time. Those include businesses in the health care, financial, energy, food, communications and transportation sectors.
A request for comment from DeSantis' office was not immediately returned Saturday.
Also on Saturday, WWE confirmed with ESPN that an employee has tested positive for coronavirus.
In a statement, the WWE said the individual became symptomatic several weeks ago after the promotion's previous round of television tapings and that they view the situation as "low risk" to others on staff.
Pro Wrestling Sheet reported the employee who tested positive does have an on-screen role but is not a member of the roster of wrestlers.
WWE did not comment on the person's identity or role with the organization.
"A WWE employee has tested positive for COVID-19," the WWE statement read. "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. The employee had no contact with anyone from WWE since being exposed to those two individuals, is doing well, and made a complete recovery."
Most other sports and pro wrestling promotions have suspended games and events in the United States due to regulations and guidelines set forth during the COVID-19 crisis.
The UFC announced Friday that it would be postponing events indefinitely after initially attempting to forge ahead beginning next week. All Elite Wrestling (AEW), the second biggest pro wrestling promotion in the U.S. after WWE, has reportedly taped several weeks of television on closed sets in Florida and Georgia.