WWE continued to slowly inch toward normalcy on last night’s episode of WWE Raw by allowing some fans to attend at the Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. The fans in attendance were reportedly friends and family of developmental wrestlers and trainees.
However, while the fans did seem to be socially distanced, another crucial component of mitigating the risk of COVID-19 was wiped out as attendees were reportedly told they could not wear face masks or other PPE if they wanted to attend the show. Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer Radio made mention of the news on Twitter:
On top of nobody finding out about the COVID failure until it hit social media, I was told by multiple sources that WWE would not allow anyone in the crowd at the RAW taping Monday to wear masks.
— Bryan Alvarez (@bryanalvarez) June 16, 2020
Dave Meltzer corroborated the story, writing the following on the WON message board:
Yes, talent and fans tonight were told if you want to wear a mask, don’t come
It’s hard to know why exactly WWE would disallow simple protective measures to combat a deadly, infectious virus, but the most plausible explanation is one of aesthetics — WWE’s production team likely just did not want their show to remind viewers of the coronavirus.
This comes after news has broken that a developmental talent has tested positive for COVID-19, causing WWE to alter its taping schedule.
UPDATE 3:30PM ET: WWE has issued a statement regarding the situation:
Fans have not been in attendance at WWE events since March 13. Yesterday, a select number of friends and family were permitted to attend WWE’s TV production.
These individuals were required to participate in medical screenings prior to entering the closed set at our training facility, and were kept apart from in-ring performers and production personnel. Attendance was below 20% capacity and social distancing guidelines were adhered to with at least six feet between parties, thus face masks were not required.
The statement doesn’t go into any detail about the type of medical screening that was administered, and the claim that the attendees were kept apart from in-ring performers is demonstrably false as seen on screen during the Street Profits’ entrance, where they walked around the other side of the barricade and danced with fans.
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