After weeks of uncertainty, California Governor Gavin Newsom gave film and television production within the state the go-ahead to resume as of next Friday, June 12. If you were hoping for a clear set of guidelines for how to maintain the health of yourself, your cast and/or crew in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, however, it appears you still have a wait on your hands. On Friday, the California Department of Public Health released the following paragraph, which says the specifics around on-set COVID-19 safety will be shaped by “labor and management, which may be further enhanced by county public health officers.”
”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,” their statement reads.
“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.”
Earlier this week, the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force, overseen by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, in collaboration with SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, the Directors’ Guild, and the Teamsters, sent a white paper of proposed production health and safety guidelines to Governor Newsom, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, and other officials. The white paper, which you can read here, suggests a plan for everything from diagnostic testing to wig hygiene. As for whether the industry at large will adopt those rules, or if Los Angeles County health officials themselves feel the county will be ready to open production as of next Friday, a lot remains to be seen.