In a joint statement, SAG-AFTRA, the Producers Guild of America and the Joint Policy Committee announced that film, TV and commercial shoots in Los Angeles will be able to resume on February 1 after ordering a temporary pause on January 3 due to record high COVID-19 hospitalizations in the county.
“While commercial and independent production may return to Southern California at this time, the parties maintain that film and television productions must abide by the industry-issued COVID-safety protocols and will continue to monitor and consider orders or recommendations issued by the Public Health Department,” reads the joint statement. “Additionally, SAG-AFTRA and the JPC will move forward with reviewing commercial productions to help ensure that safety on set is maintained for members and industry personnel.”
The month-long pause was put in place upon request from the L.A. County Department of Public Health after cases, hospitalizations and deaths started spiking across California in early December. During the outbreak, daily cases peaked above 15,000 per day, with deaths surging above 200 per day for over a week in January. Around New Year’s Day, health experts estimated that a person was dying from the virus every ten minutes.
“Patients are dying in ambulances waiting for treatment because hospital emergency rooms are overwhelmed,” SAG-AFTRA said in the statement first announcing the pause. “This is not a safe environment for in-person production right now.”
While hospitalizations and infections have begun to decrease, they are still high compared to where Los Angeles was prior to this winter. On Wednesday, L.A. County reported 6,917 new COVID-19 cases with a seven-day daily average testing positivity rate of 12.8%. Despite this, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Monday that the stay-at-home order would be lifted, allowing outdoor dining to resume at restaurants as the state returns to the four-tier county reopening system.