On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a six-point guide to how California will reopen its economy as officials weigh lifting restrictive orders designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Entertainment is a major portion of the California economy and, with the production shutdown just crossing the one-month mark and layoffs, furloughs and paycuts implemented by reeling studios, there has been a growing discussion among executives and producers about how to ease back into production, along with the big challenges a return poses — from keeping everyone safe to securing an insurance policy, filming crowds and exteriors, and determining what content is appropriate to show in a society changed by the coronavirus.
We are still months away from cameras rolling — studios’ most optimistic projections are for July-August production restarts, and the more realistic ones are aiming to be up and running by September. California is still under a stay-at-home order, which currently expires on May 15.
There are many different issues we will cover, starting today with the resumption of location and soundstage shoots.
Getting up and running again in this brave new world is going to be very difficult to navigate. For one thing, insurers are unlikely to cover productions for COVID-19 cases when business resumes, according to multiple sources in the know. Producers all over filed multimillion-dollar claims triggered when civil authorities — governments — prevented filming from continuing and forcing production shutdowns. When the business starts up, that will now be considered an identified risk, and insurers will not cover it, sources said, just as CDC is warning of a second coronavirus wave.
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.” See the rest at Deadline.