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Symptoms of COVID-19 Hit Entertainment Industry

By Erin Bolan and Edward Lucano, Media and Production Resources Interns.
Patients infected with COVID-19 aren’t the only ones feeling fatigued — the entertainment industry is facing its own symptoms of the coronavirus. With the number of confirmed infected patients in the US recently topping 1000, American health experts have encouraged social distancing and many in the field of film and television have taken their advice. Not only have high-profile events and popular releases been canceled, but many production dates have been delayed as well.

The diversity of the entertainment industry, alongside the massive scale of its productions, increase the number of factors filmmakers are taking into consideration amidst this global pandemic. Indeed, such a large number of people working together in close proximity for long periods of time is enough reason for concern, so just one person getting infected can impact an entire production and cost further time and money. 

Additionally, the apparent threat of travel restrictions is an important factor companies and filmmakers are considering. Not only can on-location shoots be compromised, but their cast and crew flying in from a variety of affected locations is increasingly becoming a concern.

Chinese director Jia Zhangke, informed Indiewire that the production of his new film, set to begin in April, is being postponed due to public health concerns. He then explained that companies and studios in the pre-production and production phases of their respective works are losing a lot of assets and must temporarily halt their efforts as they stand.

Likewise, the production of “Mission: Impossible” has come to a standstill as well. Their seven-week shoot in Venice now has an indefinite shoot date as the outbreak of COVID-19 has worsened in Italy. A Paramount spokesperson explained to the Hollywood Reporter that “during this hiatus we want to be mindful of the concerns of the crew and are allowing them to return home until production starts” and that they “...will continue to monitor this situation, and work alongside health and government officials as it evolves.”

Disney decided to halt its production of “The Falcon And The Winter Soldier” after Prague placed heavy restrictions on travel and other events. This series previously had to suspend shooting for the show in January when Puerto Rico was hit by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake.

After shooting three episodes of “The Amazing Race” in the UK, CBS decided to Suspend shooting the show until further notice. A CBS spokesperson explained that “out of an abundance of caution, everyone involved in the show will continue to be monitored when they return home. The health and well-being of the Racers and the production team are our top priorities.” 

Between the widespread postponements and hiatuses plaguing film and television right now, there is a sweeping sense of uncertainty both in the entertainment industry and around the world. Although there is a lot of uncertainty about coronavirus and the ongoing affect it's having, all we can do right now is stay informed, health-conscious, and hopeful.