Reopening Hollywood

A frequently updated list of articles about working on sets, post COVID-19.


The DGA, IATSE, Teamsters and SAG-AFTRA took their next step toward helping Hollywood resume production, safely, with the release of “The Safe Way Forward,” a multi-union 36-page report detailing safety guidelines… Developed in consultation with leading epidemiologists and experts, the guidelines are a follow-up to the Industry White Paper that was presided to state Governors on June 1. Today’s released report offers more details protocols in areas including mandatory testing, working in a “Zone” system, and the formation of a health and safety unit.

June 12, 2020: DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, Teamsters Release Joint Safety Report | Hollywood Reporter

Los Angeles County

In general, the county’s rules are more strict than the entertainment industry’s “white paper,” which was issued last week. The white paper used language like “whenever possible,” and “consider options,” while the county’s order uses the words “must” and “shall.”

June 11, 2020: Los Angeles Sets Rules for TV and Film Production Restart – Variety

Industry White Paper

Recommendations from Disney, Netflix, CBS and other top studios, Hollywood’s leading guilds and producers to get the industry restarted from the pandemic that shut down production in March.

June 1, 2020: Hollywood Submits COVID-19 Reopening Plan To NY & CA Governors – Deadline


“Every element of what has made Georgia such a unique place for film — landscapes, production facilities, a skilled and growing workforce, and [our deeply anti-union stance] — are still in place, just as they were before this global pandemic,” continued Governor Kemp.

May 22, 2020: Georgia Sets COVID-19 Protocols for Film and TV | Hollywood Reporter

Blumhouse / Universal / (No) Insurance

[F]orget about insurance that would cover a shutdown due to a coronavirus-related outbreak of illness. Universal … is going to have to be prepared to shoulder the financial burden in the event that the Blumhouse production — despite precautions — has to shutter due to members of the cast and crew coming down with COVID-19…. At this point, embattled insurers won’t cover that.

May 18, 2020: Blumhouse Plans Film Shoot on Universal Lot Despite Insurance Risks (Exclusive) | Hollywood Reporter


“We’ve been told that … insurance [is] going to double and they still won’t cover COVID-19,” said one exec who is engaged in daily conversations with insurers. “We all believe that the government is going to have to come in and backstop this, because there are millions of dollars at stake in production hubs all over the country in red and blue states that need the issue to be addressed before the business can come back to life.”

May 15, 2020: Insurance Issues Could Hobble Hollywood’s Film & TV Production Restart – Deadline


David White said, “Our goal is to create a comprehensive and practical framework for returning safely to work. Our members, like all others in the industry, want to get back to earning a living doing what they love: providing the stories and news that entertain and inform audiences around the globe. We are very pleased to have Dr. Fielding join us as a leading partner and guide in this process.”

May 13, 2020: SAG-AFTRA Taps Health Expert Jonathan Fielding for Re-Opening Safely – Variety


The 23-page document covers an extensive variety of protocols and is one of the most thorough such docs we’ve seen to date.


Among the key points outlined are: cast and crew should be tested 15 days before they return to set followed by a period of isolation, which is confirmed in a written statement; daily temperature tests using a non-contact thermometer; daily ventilation of indoor spaces; maintaining distance on set, and wearing PPE when this isn’t possible; disinfecting toilets six times a day…

May 13, 2020: Film Production Gets Green Light In Spain; Read The Safety Protocols – Deadline

United States

As California moves to gradually reopen parts of its once-booming economy, Hollywood remains firmly closed. The industry — which directly employs about 927,000 people across the country, among 2.6 million total Hollywood-supporting jobs — was one of the first sectors to shut down when the coronavirus took hold in the United States. It will likely be one of the last to reopen as unions, studios and public health officials scramble to establish new protocols and safety measures amid a public health crisis th

May 11, 2020: Lights, camera, hand sanitizer! Hollywood looks to reopen under a new normal – NBC News

United Kingdom

Deadline has seen a copy of the British Film Commission’s draft plan to keep high-end film and TV scripted shoots safe from the scourge of coronavirus.The BFC’s Film And TV Production Codes of Practice has been drawn together using input from key industry players, including Netflix, BAFTA, Disney, HBO and Bectu, and aims to provide the government with a “comprehensive and realistic vision” for how big-budget productions can return to work safely.

May 6, 2020: British Film Commission’s Draft Safety Protocols For Film & TV Shoots – Deadline


Lionsgate is considering the use of CG extras, VR scouting of locations and adopting so-called “French hours” to restrict shoots to 10-hour days and allow cast and crew to have rolling lunch breaks, according to a draft of new guidelines to safely resume film production following the coronavirus shutdown.


A spokesperson for Lionsgate did not dispute the authenticity of the document, but described it as “an already out-of-date early draft and amalgamation of thoughts and ideas (including some published elsewhere) as the industry prepares to restart production as safely as possible.” The document “has already been revised several times and continues to be a fluid work in progress,” the spokesperson added.

May 6, 2020: Lionsgate Production Draft Revealed: Staggered Hours, CGI Extras and VR Location Scouting – The Wrap


While we will need to change this process — in some cases dramatically — to ensure the safety of cast and crew during this pandemic, the closed nature of sets also offers some advantages. Not least that they provide a relatively controlled environment, where we can track who comes and goes.We’ve seen this with Netflix productions that are filming today in South Korea, Japan and Iceland, and we’ll learn more once we start shooting again in Sweden this month and Norway in July.

May 4, 2020: Netflix content head [Ted Sarandos] plans entertainment amid coronavirus – Los Angeles Times


Film Florida has released the most comprehensive set of such recommendations yet.Put out on Thursday, April 30, the six-page document from the statewide trade association features 161 recommendations for “clean & healthy” film, TV and digital production sets that spells the possible end of the signature canvas director’s chairs and ubiquitous actors trailers, and the introduction of personalized mics and hairbrushes as well as clear barriers for actors on stage, along with reducing the number of takes.

April 30, 2020: Film Florida Releases Detailed Recommendations For Safe Sets In Era Of COVID-19 – Deadline

United States

[The plan] envisions treating the production like one in a “distant location,” where “a small crew takes over a hotel that has been aggressively cleaned, and they live there full-time completely quarantined.” After they complete their quarantine, the proposal lays out that they will be divided into three pods: Pod 1 would be the on-set cast and crew, Pod 2 is base camp (makeup and hair, catering) and Pod 3 is set design/prep.

April 24, 2020: Document Lays Out Plan to Resume Production With Strict Quarantine Pods – Variety

United States

“There’s plenty of precedent in movie history for what you do if a hurricane hits your set or an actor dies in production, but there’s no rule book for what you do in a pandemic.” Right now, studios, producers and union members are trying to come up with a new, social-distanced way of doing business.

April 22, 2020: Post-Pandemic Hollywood: How Will Companies Restart Production? – Variety


Here are the safety guidelines that are being put into place by Neighbours’ production company Fremantle Australia, which, in success, could be a road map for other shows and for reopening Hollywood.

April 21, 2020: Australia’s ‘Neighbours’ Sets Safety Protocols As It Resumes Production – Deadline

Editor’s note: This Australian plan won’t work in Hollywood.

United States

What does that mean? Most likely, everyone on a film or TV production will be required to sign a rider, similar to ones they sign covering behavior codes in areas like sexual harassment, to indemnify the productions. “You acknowledge you are going into a high-density area, and while we will do our best effort to protect you, nothing is failsafe and if you contract COVID-19, we are not liable,” said a source involved drawing up these guidelines. “There is no other way we can think of to address this. If you don’t want to sign, don’t take the job.”

April 15, 2020: Reopening Hollywood: Studios Search For Answers On How To Restart Production – Deadline