On Friday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that film and television productions will resume in Hollywood as soon as June 12, over three months since he coronavirus pandemic shut down production in mid-March. The news was not presented at Newsom’s noon press conference, but sometime later in the day.
Newsom announced back in May, during a Zoom conversation with leaders in the entertainment industry, that the state guidelines for post-lockdown productions on film, television and commercials would be coming soon. However, these productions will be subject to approval of country public health officials.
The California Department of Public Health said in a statement via the Governor’s Office on Friday: “Music, TV and film production may resume in California, recommended no sooner than June 12, 2020 and subject to approval by county public health officers within the jurisdictions of operations following their review of local epidemiological data including cases per 100,000 population, rate of test positivity, and local preparedness to support a health care surge, vulnerable populations, contact tracing and testing. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, productions, cast, crew and other industry workers should abide by safety protocols agreed by labor and management, which may be further enhanced by county public health officers. Back office staff and management should adhere to Office Workspace guidelines published by the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Industrial Relations, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.”
At the moment, the reopening for production may not include hard-hit L.A. country, which has the largest impact on Hollywood productions and revealed a slight increase in COVID hospitalizations on Friday. On Monday, a task force of studios and union officials submitted a 22-page white paper to governors in California and New York, proposing dramatic health and safety guidelines aim to protect workers and performers as production resumes. These include individually packaged meals instead of buffet-style tables, a COVID-19 compliance officer on every set, virtual auditions, and required coronavirus testing and temperature screenings for cast and crew.
The daily lives on Hollywood sets will not be the same in coronavirus-era productions. However, the state’s move marks a major step toward reviving the entertainment business after the coronavirus outbreak immobilized it three months ago.