Lights, Cameras, Action! Los Angeles Greenlights Resumption of Filming for Productions

Written by Jeremy Mittman and Carly Epstein

Over the last week, California and Los Angeles have announced the protocols that must be in place for music, TV, and film productions to re-open.

On Friday, June 5, 2020, the California Department of Public Health (the “Department”) stated that music, TV, and film production may resume “no sooner than June 12, 2020” subject to several conditions. 

The statement is copied below and can also be found here.   

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 . . . .  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 (PDF) published by the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Industrial Relations, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

The statement came in response to the industry white paper developed by the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force sent to various state governments on June 1, 2020.  The white paper established protocols for a safe return to work including physical distancing, testing of cast and crew, symptom monitoring, use of PPE, mandatory employment of COVID-19 Compliance Officer(s), COVID-19 training, and paid leave policies to allow sick and quarantined employees to stay away from co-workers and the public. 

Once reopened, productions will need to adhere the guidance in the industry white paper and the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Industrial Relations’ “COVID-19 Industry Guidance:  Office Workspaces,” issued on May 12, 2020, located here.  Like the industry’s white paper, this guidance requires COVID-19 training, symptom screening, workplace cleaning and disinfecting, and physical distancing. 

It is important to note that the re-opening of productions in each county depends on approval by the county’s public health officials.  Los Angeles County announced on June 11, 2020 that it would allow music, television, and film industries to resume production as of June 12.  Los Angeles County included a checklist of protocols (located here) that productions must implement prior to re-opening (in addition to the conditions required by the state and also the industry white paper).  The checklist addresses:

  1. Workplace policies and practices to protect employee health;
  2. Measures to ensure physical distancing;
  3. Measures to ensure infection control;
  4. Communication with employees and the public; and
  5. Measures to ensure equitable access to critical services. 

Additionally, the City of Los Angeles announced on June 12 that “Music, film and television production may resume, following requirements set forth by the Department of Public Health that has been adopted from industry labor and management agreements.  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.” 

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