British Film Commission Issues Safety Guidelines for Restarting COVID-19 Production

Recommendations include crew training and separation of various production departments


The British Film Commission released late Sunday their safety guidelines for restarting COVID-19 film production, including how to handle various aspects of production, from hair & makeup to set design and cinematography.

The 44-page report, which can be read here, comes after weeks of discussions by the British Film Institute’s coronavirus task force with labor organizations, epidemiologists and studios based in both the U.K. and the United States.

Among the guidelines are separate areas for each department and, when possible, application of costume, hair and makeup on actors without assistance from a department member. The BFC also advises that each department be given additional time to complete their work while accounting for social distancing while tasking a member to regularly clean all equipment.

General measures that are advised include daily temperature and symptom checks of all cast and crew, employment of specialized cleaners to disinfect sets, and pre-packaging food at craft services with no communal food available. Intensive training on social distancing and specific department safety for all cast and crew is also recommended, as British organization ScreenSkills will be rolling out training courses in June to assist with the process.

The report notes that the guidelines are not comprehensive and are not mandatory safety rules. However, the BFC strongly advises that filmmakers and studios use the guidelines as an aid when figuring out how to resume their film and television shoots while paying attention to the specific details of their projects.

“The industry is extremely keen to restart production as soon as possible, but not without a comprehensive road map for how to do it safely while the threat of COVID-19 still looms large,” Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of the BFC said in a statement. “Today’s guidance provides that reassurance, reflecting the latest government, technical and medical advice available. We will also update it on a regular basis, giving clarity on the latest measures recommended to ensure a safe shoot for cast, crew and the wider public.”

Los Angeles County is set to release its own film and TV guidelines on Tuesday with the hopes of an “immediate” restart on filming. However, multiple studio insiders have told TheWrap that major Hollywood productions are weeks, if not months, away from restarting due to the need to make specific plans for each project along with general concerns about insurance.

One person with knowledge of Warner Bros.’ plans, for example, says that the studio is still weighing multiple options for restarting filming on blockbusters like “The Batman” and “Fantastic Beasts 3,” both of which are set to film in the U.K. Other Hollywood films set to shoot in Britain are Universal’s “Jurassic World: Dominion” and Disney’s remake of “The Little Mermaid.”