Vancouver is one step closer to resuming film and television production amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to the British Columbia government’s CreativeBC's new COVID-19 restart guidelines, the motion picture industry can now begin restarting production, though there are still a few steps remaining before series -- such as The CW's Riverdale, The Flash, and more -- are able to start filming again.
Last week, British Columbia's workplace safety authority WorkSafeBC published health and safety protocols for the motion picture industry, noting that employers are required to develop COVID-19 safety plans to outline what they have put in place to reduce the risk of transmission of the illness.
"Employers are required to develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan that outlines the policies, guidelines, and procedures they have put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission," the guideline reads. "This plan follows the six steps outlined on COVID-19 and returning to safe operation. Employers must involve frontline workers, joint health and safety committees, and supervisors in identifying protocols for their workplace. You do not need a formal plan in place to begin operation but are expected to develop it while protecting the safety of your workers."
Employers are not required to submit their plans for approval, but the plans must be posted on at the worksite and WorkSafeBC notes that they will ask employers during inspections about the steps taken to protect workers. You can read the full set of guidelines, which are broken down for various aspects of motion picture production, here.
Even with these new guidelines, full COVID-19 safety guidelines are expected to be published in mid-June and there are additional challenges that could see production delays until July. The border between the United States and Canada is closed (save for very few exceptions, including essential workers) until June 21st and that closure extents to June 30th for other countries. There's also the 14-day self-quarantine requirement for anyone coming into Vancouver from outside the area – including Canadian citizens.
Film and television productions around the world shutdown earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. For the majority of The CW's series which shoot almost exclusively in Vancouver, this led to the shortening of seasons for several shows including Riverdale, The Flash, Supergirl, and Batwoman. Currently, The CW expects to debut the majority of their "2020 premiers" in January 2021.
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