Professional sports deemed 'essential services' in Florida

Amendment to executive order clears way for sports to resume, but without fans
Coronavirus testing at Hard Rock Stadium in March 2020
Posted at 9:47 AM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 09:46:46-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Professional sports can resume in Florida, provided they are closed to the general public.

An April 9 memorandum from Jared Moskowitz, who heads the Florida Division of Emergency Management, explains that employees of professional sports have since been deemed essential in an amendment to an April 1 executive order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

According to the memo, recent additions to the list of "essential services" in the state include "employees at a professional sports and media production with a national audience -- including any athletes, entertainers, production team, executive team, media team and any others necessary to facilitate including services supporting such production -- only if the location is closed to the general public."

Jared Moskowitz Memo on Additions of Essential Services by PeterBurke on Scribd

The addition allows World Wrestling Entertainment, which operates in Orlando, to continue -- albeit without fans.

Of course, it doesn't mean much right now, with professional sports leagues throughout the country on indefinite hiatus amid the coronavirus pandemic. That includes several leagues with Florida teams, such as Major League Baseball (Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins), the National Hockey League (Tampa Bay Lighting and Florida Panthers), the National Football League (Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars) and the National Basketball Association (Miami Heat and Orlando Magic).

There are also logistic considerations. Several sports venues are being utilized for coroanvirus testing, including Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, where the Dolphins play, and Marlins Park in Miami.

Gov. Ron DeSantis holds coroanvirus news conference outside Hard Rock Stadium
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference at a drive-through coronavirus testing site in front of Hard Rock Stadium, Monday, March 30, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

DeSantis said at a news conference Tuesday that people are "chomping at the bit" for sports.

"If you think about it, we've never had a period like this in modern American history where you've had such little new content, particularly in the sporting realm," DeSantis said.

The WWE has already resumed production. It has three television shows per week, including "SmackDown" on Friday nights on FOX.