Safety protocols for restarting film & TV production in COVID-era Los Angeles were announced just under the wire on Thursday.
– Health checks for all vendors and employees when they arrive on set – Protocol and workflow assessment to ensure proper social distancing and infection control – Designation of a workplace COVID-19 compliance officer – Established procedures for any employee exhibiting coronavirus symptoms or for those who test positive
All employees and visitors are required to weak cloth face coverings, unless their production activity does not permit it, such as when actors shoot a scene. Those instances are to be kept to a short period of time and strive to keep 8 feet apart whenever possible.
Vulnerable staff, such as those over 65 or the immunocompromised, are to be assigned work that can be done from home whenever possible. Work processes for other staff are to be configured so that they also can work from home whenever possible. All work should be planned to mitigate personal contact as much as possible.
Film and TV productions must provide periodic testing of the cast and crew, especially those involved in “high risk scenes” — i.e. those that require close contact without masks for an extended period of time.
The County Board of Supervisors had engaged an Economic Resiliency Task Force to make such recommendations across 13 sectors. Given the complex and unique nature of film and TV production, NBCU CEO Jeff Shell’s industry working group has taken care in consulting the many unions and content producers involved.
On publication of the guidelines, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group Chairman Donna Langley, who was also involved in the industry group, gave Deadline the following statement:
Today’s release of safety protocols for film and television production marks a significant step in getting our industry back to work in Los Angeles County. On behalf of all us at NBCUniversal, we thank the County Board of Supervisors and Mayor Garcetti for their continued commitment to the economic recovery of our region, and the County Public Health Department for their tireless efforts to help protect the health of our community. Teams across the Studios, production companies, guilds, and unions in every facet of our business have shown, and will continue to show, innovation and creativity in bringing film, television and digital production safely back to Los Angeles.
More specific requirements include the following:
– All shared clothing, wigs, prosthetics and equipment must be disinfected before reuse. – In offices and editing areas, workstations much be at least 6 feet apart. – Breaks must be staggered to allow for social distancing, and they must be frequent to allow for hand washing. – Eating is prohibited anywhere beyond designated areas to ensure cast and crew wear masks as much as possible. – Each worker should have their own tools (and not share them) whenever possible. – Date, time and participants in all production sessions must be recorded to allow for contact tracing. – Productions requiring audiences must sit those in attendance at least 6 feet apart. – Where possible, all workspaces shall have one-directional traffic to limit close contact. – Production units or meetings should be broken down into the smallest feasible groups. – All scripts, contracts or music sheets should be shared digitally or individually assigned to each worker. – Sets, production spaces and the entire facility must be cleaned daily, with restrooms and other high traffic areas cleaned more frequently. – All trucks and other vehicles must de disinfected after each use.
In terms of shooting scenes, the these protocols are indicated:
– All cast must wash and sanitize their hands before each scene and not touch their face. – Large crowd scenes should be avoided. – All location filming must occur between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., whenever possible. – All cast and crew should stay on location during filming, even during breaks. – Locations should be completely secure to prevent public access. – In permitting, productions that consist of entirely virtual/remote filming and recording should be prioritized when possible. – Small closed indoor spaces without proper ventilation should not be used. – Hands-on assistance with wardrobe, hair and makeup should only be provided when cast cannot do it themselves. – Cast and crew involved must sanitize their hands before each hands-on styling or wardrobe session. – Actors should stay as silent as possible during the application of makeup.
And finally, as it pertains to food and drink on set, the task force advises the following:
– No buffets. – No communal beverage service, such as coffee pots – All cast and crew must sanitize their hands before eating. – Any food brought in by individuals must be labeled and not shared. – If water is served from communal dispensers, the levers and buttons by which they operate must be cleaned after each use.
While the city could, theoretically, impose its own protocols, Mayor Eric Garcetti has generally followed the county’s lead on COVID-related health determinations.