COVID-19 in Continuing Production

Blog post by Avery Proulx, Media and Production Resources Intern.
As California begins to ease up on COVID-19 restrictions and actors return to the studios, production spaces continue to look more and more different. Studios have had to deal with an abundance of new health and safety protocols set in place by their teams and by the government to keep their employees safe and healthy while working on their current productions. After months away from the studio, The Los Angeles Times reported that Hollywood’s unions released a joint report called, “The Safe Way Forward,” outlining the current restrictions that would be implemented to reduce the spread and fear of spread while in production of these media productions. Initially written in June, the precautions were last revised in September, most notably changing frequent COVID-19 testing to mandatory daily testing for cast and crew members. 

            These precautions as of September 2020 listed include:
  1. Mandatory daily COVID-19 testing is required
  2. There will be a Zone System for protection for crew and cast who can’t wear PPE
  3. PPE will be required for other production members who are able to wear them and will need to maintain social distancing while on set.
  4. Videoconferencing  and remote work are also recommended as the primary way for meetings in person and pre and post production.
The rest of these precautions and guidelines are listed here.

What does this mean for the entertainment production industry? Due to the frequent testing and PPE, production costs are expected to rise. The requirements also make it a bit more difficult to get casts together for productions with larger ensemble casts. ‘Safer at Home: The Coronavirus Movie’, director James Sunshine completed production of the film and said that they incorporated testing, mandatory quarantines, and were sponsored by a PPE company. Testing at the beginning of production had a 1-3 turnaround period, while rapid testing is now commonplace on sets. The production also ensured that only cast and crew entered the sets and had a health and safety supervisor on set, who is responsible to arrange and monitor a Hygiene Crew and keep track of daily check-ins and testing. These extra precautions are inevitably going to be a staple until a vaccine is created and widely distributed.

As cases rise in the country again, "The Safe Way" forward has not been revised since September and their principles and guidelines are not fit for dealing with the resurgence. In lieu of this, however, productions, such as 'Dear White People" and "The Witcher" are taking the liberty to briefly shut down for fourteen day periods when concerns of infected cast and crew members arise. The upside to this mandatory quarantine break period is that due to the updated guidelines cast and crew members are given mandatory quarantine pay and also allotted up to ten days of sick leave at a time. 

At GreenlightGo, we are ensuring that our vendors are able to create a safe environment for your production to continue safely and effectively while keeping costs down by teaming up with top medical and sanitization vendors and following guidelines stated in the ‘The Safe Way Forward’. Our vendors are working on training their crew members on COVID-19 protocols and providing field reps and health and safety supervisors to ensure that everyone on the team is following the protocols. Vendors are also providing PPE, such as masks, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, gloves, and more to keep crew members safe. Enhanced disinfecting and cleaning services are also provided for during and between different productions. Our priority is to get you and your team back into the studio as fast and safe as possible as the media industry gets back to work.