California Gives Green Light for Film and TV Production to Resume June 12

Gene Maddaus

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The state of California on Friday gave its blessing for film and TV production to resume on June 12, subject to approval from county public health authorities.

The state Department of Public Health also issued extensive guidelines for schools, day care facilities, and casinos. But it put out just a single paragraph on music, film and TV production, essentially punting detailed rules to local health officials and to labor-management negotiation.

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Production has been completely halted since early March, and it remains uncertain when it will actually restart. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers drafted a 22-page “white paper” on the topic, and submitted it on Monday for approval to officials in New York, California and Los Angeles County.

Related Video: COVID-19: How Will Hollywood TV, Movie Production Restart?

But union officials have said that job-by-job protocols remain to be worked out. The industry report called for regular testing of crew members, six-foot physical distancing, and widespread use of face coverings. Industry sources have projected that the new protocols could increase production costs by as much as 20%.

Los Angeles County health authorities have been waiting for the state to authorize production before issuing their own guidelines, and they are expected to do so as early as next week. Universal film chief Donna Langley asked county officials on Tuesday to quickly review the white paper and to lift restrictions in accordance the industry’s plan, in hopes of resuming production as soon as possible.

The state also gave its blessing on Friday for sporting events to be held without spectators, also beginning on June 12, and also subject to labor agreement and local approval. The department published detailed guidance for schools, day camps, and casinos on tribal land.

“As we continue to release guidance on how different sections can reopen with modifications, it is important to remember guidance doesn’t mean ‘go,'” said Dr. Sonia Angell, the director of the CDPH, in a statement. “Your local health officer will make the final decision about which sectors will open, guided by data specific to your community.”

The film and TV production guidelines have been delayed over the last couple of weeks. In an entertainment roundtable discussion on May 20, Newsom said he expected to issue the guidelines the following Monday. The following week, however, he said the guidance would be postponed as his office worked with labor and industry stakeholders to refine the rules.

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