There are conflicting reports on if WWE prevented fans from wearing masks or not at the WWE Performance Center tapings on Monday.
Local Orlando, Florida reporter Jon Alba noted on Twitter that he was told by multiple fans at Monday’s TV tapings from the WWE Performance Center that they were not told they couldn’t wear protective masks.
There had been reports that WWE officials did not allow fans to wear masks to protect them from COVID-19 on Monday. Alba reports that fans he spoke to hold him they never felt pressured by WWE not to wear the masks for TV purposes or any other reason. They did confirm that they had their temperatures taken, and signed waivers, but they were not tested for COVID-19. One fan noted to Alba that they were in a group that had masks on, and they chose not to wear the masks when the taping began.
Alba also noted that fans he spoke to did not find out about the WWE NXT developmental talent testing positive for the coronavirus until after the tapings ended. We noted before that WWE talents all found out about the positive test when it was announced by WWE online last night.
There is still no word yet on when the company found out about the positive test. Alba also said the fans at Monday’s taping were not informed that they had to get tested, and they were invited back for more tapings this week. We had reported that many of the fans used on Monday were friends and family of talents, which was noted by WWE today.
WWE also had sanitizing stations on-site at the Performance Center on Monday, and fans who spoke to Alba noted that they felt safe and would attend tapings again, even after the positive test was confirmed.
The conflicting reports continued this afternoon on Wrestling Observer Live. Bryan Alvarez noted that people are reportedly angry about how there were fans prevented from wearing masks on Monday, or at least encouraged not to wear a mask. Alvarez claims the opposite of Alba’s report, that multiple people have told him they were not allowed to wear masks as the company didn’t want masks on TV.
Alvarez also reported that Kevin Dunn allegedly said that you’re not a fan if you’re wearing a mask, indicating that people in masks wouldn’t be allowed to serve as fans in the crowd. It was previously reported on Wrestling Observer Radio that fans were told to go home if they wanted to wear a mask. It was also reported that people were upset over fans being used in the crowd given the positive COVID-19 test by a talent, but it should be noted that we don’t know when the company found out about the positive test.
We originally reported here on Wrestling INC. that fans signed waivers at the show, stating that WWE was not liable if they came down with COVID-19, and that there could be inherent risk attending the taping. We also first noted that fans had their temperatures taken, and had to fill out a questionnaire.
As noted earlier today, WWE issued a statement on the reports of fans used at the tapings. They did confirm that a select number of friends and family were permitted to attend the tapings, but said fans were not in attendance. They also noted that everyone had to under go medical tests before being involved, and were kept apart from in-ring performers and production workers. WWE also noted that attendance was below 20% and social distancing guidelines were in place. You can see that full statement below:
“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.”
Stay tuned for updates on the situation. WWE was scheduled to tape RAW and SmackDown today but tapings were nixed so they could administer COVID-19 tests to everyone involved, the first set of coronavirus testing for the company. Tapings are set to resume on Wednesday. You can see Mojo Rawley receiving his test in the tweet below:
Precautionary #COVID19 testing! Gotta make sure we’re healthy and safe to entertain the globe every week!
? Dean Muhtadi (@MojoRawleyWWE) June 16, 2020