The world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic and how communities and businesses can return to....well, business. The question of when film and television productions can resume across the globe has been a frequent one for the entertainment industry. Cameras are already rolling in parts of the UK and in New Zealand, but most parts of the US have not been given the green light, not yet. The state of California has announced their plans to resume production on film, television, and music, and the time table is sooner than you might think.
California Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health announced their latest statistics about the outbreak along with new guidelines for how various aspects of the state can return to work. In a statement, their guidance on film and television reads: "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 following their review of local epidemiological data including cases per 100,000 population, rate of test positivity, and local preparedness to support a health care surge, vulnerable populations, contact tracing and testing."
They continued, "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. Back office staff and management should adhere to Office Workspace guidelines published by the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Industrial Relations, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission."
Specific safety protocols were not immediately given for what the crew on set should do adhere to, but similar plans in other countries could be the template. New Zealand's rules called for productions to maintain social distancing between persons of at least one meter in the workplace, but it's unclear if that will be a requirement.
To reiterate the statements made by the CDPH, productions in the state are still at the mercy of the county public health officers wherever the production is being held. For that reason it may still be some time before filming is able to resume inside the city of Los Angeles as they continue to fight the virus. So while production on movies and shows in California may not be able to resume next Friday, cameras will be rolling on Avatar 2 very soon.