Production for film and television can proceed in Los Angeles County once again, following the release of safety protocols late Thursday (June 11).
The protocols run the gamut from activity on set and physical distancing and sanitation guidelines, to procedures to be followed on location and in workspaces by crews, vendors and cast.
Among the safety protocols approved by LA County health officials and collected by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Department of Public Health are the placement of a workplace COVID-19 compliance officer; health check processes for employees, visitors and vendors; workplace-supplied PPE and infection prevention supplies “including face coverings, hand sanitizer, disinfectants, and (when needed) gloves, mobile handwashing stations, and other equipment and supplies”; and the recommendation that “vulnerable staff (those above age 65, those with chronic health conditions) are assigned work that can be done from home whenever possible.”
Wearing of cloth face coverings is required by employees, visitors and vendors “whenever they are in contact with others unless the production activity does not allow for the wearing of a face covering. These instances should be of short duration and with as much physical distancing as possible.”
Regular testing and symptom checks are also a priority, with the protocols calling for “regular, periodic testing of the cast and crew on a given production to mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19, especially for those cast and crew that are involved in high risk scenes requiring close contact without face coverings for extended periods of time.” Should an employee test positive for the virus while not exhibiting symptoms, that person is “not allowed to return until 10 days have passed starting from the date that the testing sample was collected.”
In terms of distancing, workspaces need to be separated by at least six feet, and breaks need to be staggered “to ensure that six (6) feet between employees can be maintained in break rooms or other common areas such as background cast members’ waiting rooms at all times.”
Regarding audiences for productions, audience members “must be seated at least 6 feet from each other and wearing face coverings whenever feasible; audiences should be limited to 100 people or 25% of the maximum occupancy of the space, whichever is smaller. The same group of employees should serve as the audience throughout a production whenever feasible.”
Furthermore, “all staff, cast, crew, musicians, vendors, clients and other visitors have been instructed to maintain at least a six feet distance from each other at all times, except when specific tasks require closer work.”
The protocols also cover auditioning, talent, craft services and catering, and wardrobe, hair and make-up among other areas.
The guidance comes as LA County, one of the regions of California hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to see rising numbers of cases daily, with the county on Thursday (June 10) reporting the highest single-day number of new cases since the beginning of the outbreak.