Hollywood Task Force Submits COVID-19 Reopening Guidelines to Newsom and Cuomo

A task force composed of entertainment companies, unions and guilds sent recommendations for resuming film production to California Gov. Gavin Newsom and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday.

The 22-page document detailed 19 guiding principles underlying the recommendations, which were spread across five "critical areas of concern":

  • Infection control
  • Protecting and supporting cast and crew health and safety
  • Physical distancing
  • Training and education
  • Unique production-specific concerns

    "A staged reopening process may be necessary," the document noted, "with entertainment industry sectors reopening sequentially based on risk and public health authority approval. For example, aspects of pre- and post-production activities may be deemed lower risk and could reopen sooner than production activities."

    FilmLA, a non-profit that administers the film permitting process in Los Angeles, is still unable to provide guidance on the expected timing for resumption of film production in L.A. County. That decision remains the responsibility of public officials.

    "We await guidance from the County of Los Angeles and Department of Public Health with regard to the timing of the safe and responsible return of on-location production to Los Angeles County," a FilmLA representative told dot.LA

    The task force's report acknowledged that many facts about COVID-19 are yet to be determined, meaning that safety protocols are "subject to further discussion and agreement." The report also noted that filming in adherence to the recommended protocols represents a notable departure from the common practices before the pandemic.

    "The Task Force recognizes that many of the recommendations outlined in this document represent considerable changes in current workflows and processes," the report said.

    Specific recommendations include providing regular, periodic testing of cast and crew; limiting face-to-face contact; designating a COVID-19 compliance officer; and instituting mandatory COVID-19 training on or before the first day of shooting.

    Netflix, Walt Disney Pictures, Apple Studios, NBCUniversal and HBO were among the task force participants.

      The coronavirus pandemic has hit Hollywood hard, with thousands left unemployed and company finances upended. And the longer the production pipeline remains crimped, the more squeezed companies will be, from streaming to the silver screen.

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