After Pro Wrestling Sheet found a Facebook post from the IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) in Jacksonville which said COVID-19 Rapid Tests were given to everyone involved in tonight’s live Dynamite production at Daily’s Place before entering the venue, AEW President Tony Khan confirmed that with this tweet:
#AEWDynamite is live tonight on TNT at 8pm ET/7CT! I’ve tested negative for COVID as have all wrestlers & staff here, we’re taking best precautions possible & it’ll be a great show with the debut of Matt Hardy teaming w/ Kenny Omega v. Jericho & Guevara, + @JonMoxley v. Kazarian! pic.twitter.com/Kh56Drk5I4— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) May 6, 2020
A new episode of the AEW Unrestricted podcast featuring Khan was also released today (May 6). It covers a lot of his thinking behind the company producing shows during the pandemic, and messaging from the President to his employees about that decision.
“I knew there was a good chance the Rochester and Newark shows were not going to come off. We had to pivot and re-think these things. What was hard for me was, I didn’t want to force anybody to come to work under these circumstances. When we were in Salt Lake City, I told everybody ‘this is totally voluntary from here on out.’ I didn’t know where we were gonna be the next week; Rochester or Jacksonville, but I had to figure it out by the next morning because the trucks needed to know where to take the ring and set. That night, I knew we were gonna have to make changes. I talked to [TNT] and they were excited for us to keep putting on shows. In Salt Lake City, I said it was a voluntary enterprise and I’m glad because some people have taken me up on it. The last thing I want is someone to feel uncomfortable in the work environment.”
As you’d expect on an AEW production like the Tony Schiavone & Aubrey Edwards hosted podcast, the account paints the company in a very positive light. It also positions it as the counterpoint to many fans’ impression of how WWE approached the same challenge:
“I first had an inkling that things were going to be shutdown going into the third show, which is when we taped all these shows. States were starting to shut down and I never considered us or tried to force us to be ‘an essential business.’ I never tried to stay open against restrictions. When we heard Florida and Georgia were going to shut down, we would shut down too and we needed to tape as much content as we could before the shutdown...
Something I put an emphasis on during the shutdown is that we haven’t let anybody go and we’ve tried to take care of everybody through this. It’s not the right time for re-organizing or re-structuring for us. I want to take care of everybody and make sure they’re comfortable.”
You can give the entire pod a listen here.
Thanks to Fightful for transcription.