Update 12/29/20 @ 7:45 p.m. — FilmLA today issued a Media Advisory regarding the availability of new permit data in January. The local film industry is highly invested in efforts to control COVID-19, as demonstrated by strict safety protocols and testing that all productions are subject to. Receptive to the guidance of County public health experts, the industry also responsibly began dialing back activity considerably, beginning earlier in December.
On December 24, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH) emailed an update to the County’s film industry contacts, reminding them of the present surge in local COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations, and urging filmmakers to exercise every caution in their work.
For those seeking permits to film at this time, LADPH representatives warned that “although music, TV and film productions are allowed to operate, we ask you to strongly consider pausing work for a few weeks during this catastrophic surge in COVID cases. Identify and delay higher risk activities, and focus on lower-risk work for now, if at all possible.”
County health officials on several prior occasions have thanked the film industry for its efforts to control the COVID-19 surge. Helpful practices, according to LADPH, have included “moving more work outdoors, delaying higher-risk work, and putting some productions completely on pause.”
LADPH has asked FilmLA to remind filmmakers that “travel for production purposes is currently not advised.” Although the state allows travel for productions, it increases COVID risk “by making it more likely that people will end up together in vehicles or indoors in less-controlled settings,” together with people from distant areas. “Hospitals are full virtually everywhere,” the message also cautioned, encouraging filmmakers to, “keep cast and crew close to home.”
Elaborating further on travel and quarantine requirements, LADPH noted that the County’s Blanket Health Officer Order on Quarantine was recently updated to include a shorter 10-day quarantine option. Appendix J—the health standards applicable to local film productions—will be updated soon to reflect this. Even with the adjustment, officials caution that “the virus can still potentially incubate for up to 14 days, therefore heightened precautions and health monitoring are important.”
With two Coronavirus vaccines approved for use and thousands of frontline healthcare workers already receiving their first doses, LADPH reassured filmmakers that “there is a light at the end of the tunnel.” A new COVID-19 Vaccine Information Page was recently added to the County’s website, with weekly updates, a MythBusters Guide re: vaccine safety, and a dedicated mailing list and data dashboard to monitor vaccine distribution.
Meanwhile, continued use of telework and virtual meetings are recommended whenever possible. And now more than ever, it is essential that on-set COVID-19 Compliance Officers remind on-set personnel to “keep up the physical distancing” and to “move people further apart” when they drift together.
“You are our heroes!” the letter said of industry compliance officers.
Thank you for taking care of our community and one another.