LA County’s new post-lockdown production protocols published

The checklist covers:

Los Angeles county’s department for public health has published a 10 page document outlining the protocols businesses wishing to reopen, including film and TV production companies and studios, must follow.

  • Workplace policies and practices to protect employee health
  • Measures to ensure physical distancing
  • Measures to ensure infection control
  • Communication with employees and the public
  • Measures to ensure equitable access to critical services

For Television and Film production there is regular, periodic testing of the cast and crew on a given production to mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19, especially for those cast and crew that are involved in high risk scenes requiring close contact without face coverings for extended periods of time. Where testing may not be feasible for one-time productions operating under a very short filming schedule (e.g. many commercials) or smaller music recording sessions, all work should be planned to eliminate close physical contact between cast, crew and performers as much as possible. Any and all testing programs are the responsibility of the employer and should benefit from the guidance of a medical professional.

The document mostly lists common sense approaches to dealing with obvious things such as social distancing, but it is useful to compare Hollywood’s take on this to the recently-published UK Screen Association guidance document. How closely will the UK’s and LA’s approaches compare as the industry begins its attempt to return to some sort of normality?

The document prompts some interesting observations, as highlighted by the Los Angeles Times’ Anousha Sakoui: ” … the restrictions raise questions over how actors can realistically perform. Under the county’s rules, for example, actors must not touch their face during filming. Any work that requires cast and crew to be less than six feet apart must be brief and done silently, to avoid the spread of the virus by droplets through talking. Fight scenes and sex scenes in which there is prolonged contact between actors “are discouraged at this time.””