California Governor Gavin Newsom has given the film industry the go-ahead to resume production as part of the state’s initial steps to reopen non-essential businesses after the three-month coronavirus lockdown.
Television, film, and music productions will be permitted to resume on Friday, June 12, though it remains unclear when actual work will restart given the fact that Los Angeles County has struggled to contain viral outbreaks during the pandemic.
Newsom’s office said on Friday that each county public health officer will make the final determination as to when studios can get back to work.
That means the final decision will be up to Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
California Governor Gavin Newsom (left) has given film and television studios in his state the green light to resume shoots starting on Friday, June 12. In practice, however, the resumption of filming will be subject to final approval from Dr. Barbara Ferrer (right), the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
LA County, the nation’s most populous county which is home to nearly all of Hollywood's major motion picture and television studios, reported 44 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday in addition to 1,469 new cases.
In total, there have been 59,650 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County.
The county death toll during the pandemic recently has exceeded 2,500.
To date, more than 126,300 cases and 4,500 deaths have been confirmed in California.
‘Music, TV and film production may resume in California, recommended no sooner than June 12, 2020, and subject to approval by county public health officers within the jurisdictions of operations,’ the California Department of Public Health told the Los Angeles Times.
‘To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, productions, cast, crew and other industry workers should abide by safety protocols agreed by labor and management, which may be further enhanced by county public health officers.’
Since March, the film industry has lost an estimated $10billion due to the closure of movie theaters, the cancelation of screenings, and a shutdown in film and television production.
Thousands of employees have been laid off or furloughed and some of the highest paid executives have accepted wage cuts to weather the storm.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the shutdown of movie theaters and film and television production. Since March, studios have lost an estimated $10billion. The Paramount Studios film lot is seen above in Los Angeles on April 8
When filming does resume, it will look much different than it did in the pre-COVID-19 era.
Studios and employee unions agreed on a basic set of guidelines that were compiled into a white paper which was sent to both Newsom and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
These safety protocol recommendations include a ban on buffet-style food service, a requirement that those in live studio audiences wear facial coverings, and the presence of a COVID-19 compliance officer on each set.
‘This document is an initial set of principles and guidelines that we all agree form a relevant and realistic first step to protecting cast and crew in the reopening of the entertainment and media industry in its two largest markets,’ the actors union SAG-AFTRA said in a statement.
The recommendations also include mandatory testing of cast and crew, temperature screenings of anyone on set, and readily available personal protective equipment.
Any live shows would be permitted on condition that audiences wear face coverings and are positioned six feet away from each other.
Anyone on the premises must also be screened for symptoms.
The document also calls for staggered call times (the times that cast and crew are required to be on set for work), reorganizing departments so that they have smaller numbers of people, and using remote-monitoring technology to reduce the number of people on set.
Some American content producers aren’t waiting on the United States to resume filming.
In late April, Netflix ramped up production in countries that are easing restrictions - namely Iceland and South Korea - while Hollywood remains closed.
Its recent successes in reality TV, such as Love is Blind and Too Hot to Handle, point to avenues requiring smaller crews and with rapid turnaround times.
Tyler Perry announced earlier this month that he will begin filming the second season of his BET show Sistas on July 8, and The Oval (above) three weeks later
Netflix quickly capitalized on the phenomenal success of surreal zookeeper documentary Tiger King with a follow-up episode featuring interviews with show alumni conducted via low-budget video calls.
Georgia, which has become a hub for film production studios, was the first state to announce a lifting of the lockdown.
Governor Brian Kemp’s office put out a set of safety guidelines for film studios to adhere to when resuming production, including the maintaining of social distancing, temperature checks and testing, and limiting the number of people in a given area.
Tyler Perry, the actor and filmmaker who founded Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, plans to resume filming on July 8.
After Kemp declared that nonessential businesses in the state could reopen in late April, Perry emerged with a strategic plan to reopen his massive 330-acre studio, which has become a production powerhouse rivaling Hollywood´s best.
Perry believes he's ready to move forward at Tyler Perry Studios to produce his own content such as the BET series Sistas and The Oval.