California Governor Announces Plan to Reopen Hollywood


It’s been almost three months since the coronavirus pandemic shut down film and television productions across the globe. Beginning in mid-March, concern over the spread of the virus and the need to adhere to social distancing guidelines forced hundreds of productions to shut down, upending television and filming schedules across the board. Now, after months of self-quarantining and social distancing to help flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus, followed by widespread anti-police brutality protests that effectively ended quarantine, Hollywood may start getting back to work this month. 

California governor Gavin Newsom has unveiled guidelines to start productions in the state back up again beginning June 12, subject to county public health department approval. 

“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 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,” the California Department of Public Health said in a statement via the Governor’s Office on Friday. “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.”

The non-specific, paragraph-long statement essentially hands responsibility for reopening plans to county governments and studio and union leaders. Officials for Los Angeles County, where most film and television production in California takes place, are expected to release their own guidelines shortly. 

Newsom had initially announced an intention to announce an entertainment industry reopening plan in May, which was met with swift condemnation from industry leaders, who had not been consulted. The planned announcement date passed without a release, and on June 1 the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers submitted a white paper with their reopening recommendations to officials in New York, California, and Los Angeles County.

Even before Newsom laid out the official guidelines, networks, sports leagues, and production companies had already begun making plans for how to get back to work. The NFL released its 2020-2021 schedule in early May, predicting that the next season will be able to kick off — in some form — in September, following preseason games in August. Fox followed suit by announcing a proposed August production date for the next installment of The Masked Singer

Georgia governor Brian Kemp, whose state is the country’s third-biggest hub for film and television production and was among the first to start to reopen, announced best practices for production safety in preparation for a resumption of work on film and TV sets last month. Georgia’s many guidelines include frequent hand washing and disinfection, utilization of personal protective equipment, maintaining social distancing, temperature checks, and the appointment of a designated Occupational Risk Prevention staff member tasked with making sure all safety protocols outlined in the best practices document are followed during production. Previously, Tyler Perry declared that productions at his Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta will be returning to work in July, with precautions in place to limit the risk of infection on set. 

In the meantime, networks like The CW hedged their bets for a fall return to production and pushed their usual October premiere schedule to January 2021. Freeform also pushed the majority of their summer premieres to next year. 

Source : TVGuide