With the number of coronavirus cases continuing to climb in several states, including Arizona, Florida, and California, and Los Angeles itself reporting a new daily record on July 1 with over 9,740 cases, the future start dates of TV and film productions in the U.S. remain as-yet uncertain. However, for several productions happening in New Zealand, their crew members have already received the official go-ahead to come on in and resume work.
According to Variety, New Zealand media website Stuff reports 206 international employees, and 35 family members, working on seven productions have been given permission to return to the country, including crew members for Lord of the Rings, Power Rangers, Cowboy Bebop, Sweet Tooth, and Peter Farrelly’s Greatest Beer Run Ever. Crews for the Avatar films and The Power of the Dog were also previously okayed to enter the country, which instituted an early lockdown on international travel, in an attempt to head off the spread of COVID-19. In early June, the country declared itself, at least for the moment, coronavirus-free, though at least two new cases have since been confirmed.
“Our success at managing COVID-19 gives our country an opportunity to become one of the few countries still able to safely produce screen content,” New Zealand’s Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford reportedly told film executives at Parliament. “And the inquiries and interest we are getting from international production houses tells me that the international film community sees New Zealand as something of a global safe haven.”