Early Tuesday morning, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti reversed a decision to cancel all COVID-19 testing at Union Station on Tuesday to make room for a film shoot, and said that all 504 scheduled appointments have been restored.
“Working with @LAFD, @Curative & @MetroLosAngeles, my team has worked to reopen testing at Union Station on Tuesday. The 504 Angelenos who were scheduled for a test there can visit the kiosk as originally planned or any of the other 14 City sites, where we offer 38K tests daily,” Garcetti said in a statement posted to Twitter.
“Since March 20, the City has administered more than 2.5 million free tests. City sites offer free tests to anyone with or without symptoms and results are provided within 24-48 hours. More appointments are available for Angelenos needing a test: http://Coronavirus.LACity.org/Testing.”
Garcetti intervened after a backlash on social media to reports that COVID-19 testing at Union Station had been canceled to accommodate filming for the upcoming remake of “She’s All That.”
On Monday, people who had scheduled a COVID-19 test appointment for Tuesday, Dec. 1 at Union Station were notified via email that the appointments had been canceled due to an “event.” The email didn’t reveal the nature of the event, but Deadline reported it was“He’s All That,” a remake of the 1999 Freddie Prince Jr. film “She’s All That.”
Reps for FilmLA, Miramax, which produces the film, or the office of the Mayor of Los Angeles did not immediately respond to requests for comment from TheWrap. But according to the Los Angeles Times, both Garcetti’s office and FilmLA said they were unaware that the filming would lead to the testing site being temporarily shut down.
FilmLA went further, telling The L.A. Times: “All we know at this hour is that this decision wasn’t made by FilmLA or the City’s film permit approver LAPD, nor was it sought by the production company seeking to film at Union Station.”
On Monday night, a follow-up statement was sent to people whose accounts were canceled by Andrea Garcia, Garcetti’s press secretary. In the statement, Garcia said that 504 people had scheduled appoints to be tested for the virus at the Union Station testing location, and their appointments would be honored at one of the 14 other testing sites. In addition, Garcia said “we are hoping to reopen the Union Station site’s operations tomorrow.”
“Earlier today we learned that our Union Station testing kiosk was unexpectedly closed in advance of tomorrow’s appointments. As soon as this was brought to our attention, we contacted the 504 people scheduled for a test on December 1st at Union Station to let them know that their appointment would be honored at any of the other 14 city testing locations, including another mobile testing site located at the North Hollywood Metro Station accessible by the Metro transit system,” Garcia’s statement said.
“In addition, we are hoping to reopen the Union Station site’s operations tomorrow. We remain committed to providing free tests and are scheduled to test more than 38,000 people tomorrow. We have administered more than 2.5 million tests to Angelenos since March 20. Our network of testing centers and mobile testing pop up facilities reaches the entire City of Los Angeles, and we will continue to monitor new surge areas to make sure obtaining a test is as easy as possible.”
However, the hours-long delay between the news and any formal statement, and the fact that the shut down of a testing site was set to happen just one day after the start of a sweeping new stay-at-home order for Los Angeles county, had a lot of people calling Garcetti and the city of Los Angeles directly on Twitter. See a sampling below.
In the middle of a horrible and terrifying COVID spike, LA just cancelled all of its Dec 1 appointments at Union Station (one of the only transit-accessible facilities) with less than 24hrs notice because of A FILM SHOOT!! @MayorOfLA @metrolosangeles @lapublichealth WTF???!!??? pic.twitter.com/zwR36TH4G4
— Ktown for All 💜❤ (@KtownforAll) December 1, 2020
This is a telling paragraph. FilmLA not knowing about the test site is a major league fuckup. Locations probably should know, but honestly if they were just scouting a part of Union Station not near the site, it’s up to FilmLA and Union Station to make them aware. pic.twitter.com/sYJdGzkBlg
— Mike Lisboa (@MikeLisboa) December 1, 2020
Why did you allow the closure of one of the few public transit accessible covid test sites, Union Station, for a film shoot tomorrow? https://t.co/pASfKJNb8P
— Angie Vroom Givant (@AngieVroom) December 1, 2020
Multiple high schools in LA County held their senior proms at Union Station. Including mine. The place is huge, and it would be nice if the film crew could work out a shooting space that didn’t interfere with community COVID testing. https://t.co/GUsGIUQ9Tq
— Genya 🇱🇹 (@ElectionBabe) December 1, 2020
There are over 3k testing sites available. Cool. Ppl chose Union Station because it was accessible for them. Garcetti isn't going to provide transport. Anyway, we didn't ask for a She's All That reboot. tf! LA needs to prioritize better. WE ARE SURGING! https://t.co/PJgEX88jxr
— Dr. Openly Excessively Black & Disabled (She/Her) (@4WheelWorkOut) December 1, 2020
More to come..