The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Department of Public Health announced on Wednesday that it will allow film and television crews to resume filming on June 12, the same date that California Gov. Gavin Newsom permitted production to resume statewide pending county approval.
At a COVID-19 press conference on Wednesday, Dr. Barbara Ferrer said that the Department of Public Health would release safety guidelines and requirements on Thursday pertaining to film productions, as well as guidelines for other businesses such as gyms, movie theaters, and museums, which will also be allowed to open on Friday.
As TheWrap reported on Tuesday, this approval does not necessarily mean that filming will immediately resume. While Hollywood’s Industry-Wide Safety Committee released a white paper last week outlining general safety protocols, Hollywood guilds and studios must still reach an agreement on safety protocols pertaining to specific production departments such as cinematography, hair and makeup. Studios will also have to tailor both general and craft-specific guidelines to their particular productions, which could require adjustments depending on the scenes involved.
Studio executives have told TheWrap that shooting on studio soundstages is more likely to resume quicker than productions that are filmed on-location due to greater control over the filming environment. These soundstage productions include television productions such as lower-budget dramas, sitcoms, game shows and late-night talk shows, the latter of which will have to be filmed without a studio audience.
Among the general safety guidelines advised by the industry white paper include regular temperature checks of all cast and crew, isolation of all staff except when needed for essential duties on set, and mandatory safety training for all employees. Implementing these costs is expected to increase both production budgets and insurance costs by up to 20%.
To date, the LA County DPH has reported nearly 66,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county with 2,710 deaths, the latter of which counting for nearly 57% of the 4,479 deaths throughout California. The infection rate had dropped to below 1 in Los Angeles in late May, but a combination of increased testing, the reopening of businesses and the rise of anti-lockdown protests has been attributed to a rise in positive cases and a stop in the downward trend of COVID-19 hospitalizations.