Studios, Guilds Release Guidelines To Resume Production

Sony Picture Studios halted film and TV production amid the Coronavirus outbreak. (Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

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Hundreds of thousands in the entertainment industry have lost their jobs. Virtually all live action filming in the state has stopped. But now Hollywood has a plan to resume production safely.

A task force composed of representatives from production companies and unions said on Monday that it is sending its preliminary recommendations to Gov. Gavin Newsom, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Newsom is set to unveil California's delayed guidelines on Tuesday.

The Industry-Wide Labor Management Safety Committee Task Force's report is filled with ideas for health monitoring and testing: "Recommended options include electronic survey, manual screening and/or temperature spot-checks. Productions shall emphasize and reinforce to all cast and crew that working while sick with symptoms of COVID-19 is not permitted."

The 22-page report also details how social distancing might work on a typically crowded film set.


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"Limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19," the report states. "Cast and crew must practice physical distancing ... of at least 6 feet from any other person at all times, except when doing so is incompatible with one's job duties. Cast and crew should avoid congregating in groups. When practical, separate work locations into zones to facilitate physical distancing."

The guidelines were drafted by a committee organized by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, and included medical experts and representatives of Hollywood's biggest guilds, including SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, and the Directors Guild of America.

SAG cautioned that the report is a starting point for further conversations about codified rules.

"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 said in a statement.

Newsom had promised to deliver the state's filming safety standards a week ago, but postponed their release. He has been meeting with industry leaders for guidance, and hosted one such public meeting online as part of what he calls his "Economic Recovery & Reinvention Listening Tour."

The governor said that even if parts of the state are slowly reopening, Los Angeles County, owing to its continued high number of new cases and deaths (1,379 and 25, respectively, on Sunday), would likely trail other counties.

The British government and an alliance of broadcasters also just announced guidelines for the resumption of production. Among the movies and series that were filming in the United Kingdom were "The Batman," "Jurassic World: Dominion" and "The Crown."

The guidelines run more than 5,000 words. They address not only how social distancing rules might apply to typically crowded sets, but also how the use of seemingly negligible items such as food utensils and microphones needs to be reconsidered.

"We believe this to be the most comprehensive, extensively-consulted on COVID-19 recovery production guidance in the world," Adrian Wootton, the head of the British Film Commission, said in a statement.

Part of the challenge facing Hollywood is that other states and countries have different safety standards. Netflix is currently in production in Korea, Sweden and Iceland, and other states (such as Georgia) may offer looser rules than California, forcing productions to leave the state and Hollywood.