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New York City Loosens On-Location Filming Rules

Film crews must still follow COVID-19 safety regulations, including distancing from restaurants and leaving streets open

As part of the latest phase in reopening New York City’s economy, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) has released updated regulations for film crews looking to restart production in the city, including a new maximum staff capacity.

The new rules focus on preventing the spread of coronavirus during the ongoing pandemic and ensuring that shooting does not interfere with first responders’ work. On-location shoots are not allowed to block streets or otherwise interfere with hospitals and COVID-19 testing centers. They are also not allowed to film within 21 feet of restaurants with outdoor eating areas without the owner’s permission.

No more than 50 cast and crew are allowed for shoots on public property, an increase from 25 cast and crew in the previous regulations. A maximum of two cameras, three lighting stands, and five vehicles may be used for shooting.

Permits are now being accepted by the New York Film Office for the next round of on-location shooting from July 27 to Oct. 31, after which MOME and the Film Office will release updated regulations.

This move to revive on-location shooting comes on the same day that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would begin its fourth and final phase of reopening, starting with upstate New York with NYC joining in the coming weeks. As part of the partial Phase Four plans, botanical gardens, zoos, cultural heritage sites and other outdoor public areas have been reopened, but theme parks, gyms, indoor dining, and movie theaters remain closed.