Despite reimposed lockdown measures introduced in the UK on Monday (January 4), the television and film industries in the region will be permitted to continue production while following mandated social distancing and safety measures.
Oliver Dowden, the UK’s secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, took to Twitter to confirm that the UK screen industry would remain unaffected by these new measures.
“For the arts/creative sectors this means you should work from home unless you can’t – exemptions include for training and rehearsal of performances, recording studios and film & TV production,” he noted.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed the new lockdown orders across England with an aim to curb surging infection rates from a more transmissible variant of COVID-19.
“It is clear that we need to do more to bring this new variant under control,” Johnson said during a televised press conference Monday night. “That means the government is once again instructing you to stay at home.”
To reduce social contact, the regulations are requiring the closure of some businesses, while also enforcing restrictions on how some businesses can provide goods and services.
Pact, the UK’s independent production trade association, is applauding the government for allowing the screen sector to continue its work in the midst of the current lockdown.
“Pact is pleased that the UK government has continued to recognize the importance of the TV and film production industry as essential workers helping not only towards the recovery of the UK economy, but also as program makers for the British public,” said Pact’s Dawn McCarthy-Simpson MBE MBE, managing director of business development and global strategy, in a statement provided to Realscreen.
“Pact – along with industry – developed guidance during the first UK lockdown to enable production to go ahead safely. This guidance has been updated throughout the pandemic and is adhered to by all broadcasters and producers in the UK ensuring that TV and film production is done in a COVID-safe way.”
In the 340 days since the first reported case of the novel coronavirus in the UK, the country has recorded more than 2.7 million positive cases and 75,547 related deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
On Monday (Jan. 4), the UK reported 58,784 new cases – its highest daily total since the pandemic began. The figures also marked the seventh straight day that the UK has recorded more than 50,000 daily cases.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., several production companies and network studios in the Los Angeles area have extended their holiday production pauses, following messaging from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in late December, requesting the film and TV production industry to “strongly consider pausing work for a few weeks during this catastrophic surge in COVID cases.”
(With files from Barry Walsh)