Earlier this week, we heard that WWE ended their policy of routine COVID-19 testing for all members of the roster. A new report from Wrestling Observer Newsletter has much more detail about what the company’s policy now is. It’s an approach to the coronavirus we’re seeing more and more as we approach the two year anniversary of the start of the pandemic, and that followers of professional sports organizations like the NFL and NBA will recognize.
The report covers a memo sent to talent outlining WWE’s updated policy:
- It’s suggested that everyone get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine course, and a booster. If someone previously had the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, it’s suggested they get a Pfizer or Moderna booster.
- Fully vaccinated personnel will be asked screening questions and observed prior to enter the venue. Anyone with symptoms is required to report them to WWE Medical.
- Anyone with symptoms is required to take a COVID test.
- Anyone who tests positive and is not vaccinated will have a minimum ten days of quarantine as well as heart testing before they can return to work.
- Those who test positive and are fully vaccinated must be out for six days. Beginning on day five, if they are asymptomatic for 24 hours, they must pass two Antigen tests at least 24 hours apart before returning.
- Anyone in close contact with someone who tests positive is allowed to come to work but will be tested daily for five days after exposure if they show no symptoms.
- Masks must be worn backstage by all talent, staff, crew and guests. There are mandatory fines for talent and staff failing to adhere to that policy.
While not identical to the new NFL policy the Observer’s say their WWE sources have compared it to, it does pose similar concerns — namely that asymptomatic carriers of the virus won’t be identified, and early signs that existing tests aren’t as reliable in detecting the omicron strain as they were past variants. It’s likely those concerns which are behind the WON reiterating Fightful’s previous report that there are those within in the company unhappy about this change in policy.
The good news in Dave Meltzer’s story is that most WWE wrestlers are said to be vaccinated.
Overall, your reaction to the new policy probably depends on whether you think the move toward this approach to COVID-19 is a necessary step as the virus moves from the pandemic to endemic stage like influenza, or premature and evidence of prioritizing commerce over public health.