ROH Sets Protocols for COVID-19 Screening at Upcoming Tapings
By Kevin Eck
Obviously, the biggest story of the week is that ROH is returning to in-ring action after nearly six months on hiatus due to the pandemic.
The company announced it will hold tapings for the “Ring of Honor Wrestling” television show this month in Maryland. The focus of the tapings will be the Pure Title tournament, which had originally been scheduled to begin in April.
To help ensure the safety of the talent, staff and crew, no fans will be permitted to the event and only those who are essential to the production will be present. ROH is adhering to stringent medical and administrative protocols instituted by the Maryland State Athletic Commission.
Here are several key components of the commission’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing protocols:
* Two weeks prior to the event, talent and referees are required to undergo the first NMT (nasal mid-turbinate) molecular PCR swab test.
* Within three days of the event, talent and referees will be required to undergo a second NMT molecular PCR swab test. They must be immediately isolated/sequestered after undergoing the second test. Separate hotel accommodations and separate eating arrangements will be required for participants, who must remain isolated until arriving at the event to work.
* On the day of the event (or, in the case of wrestling activity spanning more than one day, on the last day of the individual engaging in competition or participation), talent and referees will be required to undergo a third NMT molecular PCR swab test. The third test is being required for contact tracing being conducted by, and being documented by, the commission. The commission considers contact tracing to be essential to reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
* All individuals entering the venue must have his or her temperature taken and recorded at the door via an infrared thermometer. No one will be permitted entry into the venue with a temperature reading of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
* Any individual other than the participants who is either working in the ring enclosure area or physically interacting with participants (i.e. an athletic trainer) must undergo the second and third NMT molecular PCR swab tests in the respective time frames. All such individuals other than the ring announcer will be required to wear a mask covering both the nose and mouth at all times.
* All other individuals present at the venue in any capacity will be required to wear a mask covering both the nose and mouth at all times and to maintain a social distance from each other of at least six feet at all times.
ROH made the decision in mid-March to cease running shows until there was a safe way to resume. The company continued to pay its talent and staff during the hiatus while creating content on other platforms.
“I think we got to give the company a whole lot of props [for] the way they have handled all of us during all of this,” Jay Briscoe said on the latest episode of the “ROHStrong Podcast.” “Nobody’s missed a paycheck; they’ve kept everybody safe. … I think the company’s done a fantastic job, and it’s an honor to work here, no pun intended.”
On a side note, the fact that there will be no fans in attendance means the tapings will be spoiler-free.