L.A. Plans Return to TV Production — Read the New Rules for Filming

Meredith Jacobs
Hollywood TV Production Resuming Protocols
David Livingston/Getty Images

As the nation begins to reopen following the shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, new rules are being put in place, including when it comes to resuming production in Hollywood.

Safety protocols for music, television, and film production were announced Thursday by the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health. The guidelines are to be used when filming resumes, which will happen as soon as the unions, guilds, and studios agree to and make the necessary changes. These rules are designed to, among other things, protect employee health, ensure social distancing, and prevent the spread of the virus.

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While you can read all the safety protocols being put in place, the ones that suggest viewers should expect changes on the TV shows they watch include:

  • Everyone must "wear cloth face coverings whenever they are in contact with others unless the production activity does not allow for the wearing of a face covering." In cases where they can't, it "should be of short duration and with as much physical distancing as possible."
  • The cast and crew will be tested regularly to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially those "involved in high risk scenes requiring close contact without face coverings for extended periods of time."
  • There needs to be "a plan for response" if anyone tests positive for or shows the symptoms of COVID-19. If there are three or more cases of COVID-19, it must be reported to the Department of Public Health.
  • Shared equipment, microphones, tools, wigs, and prosthetics "must be disinfected after each use," while shared clothing has to be cleaned.
  • "Only essential cast and crew should be on or near the set at any time," and those who cannot wear face coverings are to be "a minimum of eight feet" apart during rehearsals and performances.
  • If there's an audience, everyone must be seated six feet apart and wear face coverings. The limit is "100 people or 25% of the maximum occupancy of the space, whichever is smaller."
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  • Everyone must stay six feet apart from each other when possible.
  • When it comes to props, costumes, and set materials, they must be disinfected before the first time they're used and before being used by a different actor. Those touching them must wear face coverings (except during filming) and wash or sanitize their hands. If possible, the cast should bring their own props.
  • Auditions are to be done remotely if possible.
  • Cast and crew interacting with them or the set must wash or sanitize their hands before filming and avoid touching their faces.
  • If a scene requires cast or crew to be closer to one another than six feet, it "must be as brief as possible and cast must be as silent as possible to avoid spreading droplets through talking." Furthermore, it is "discouraged at this time" to have "scenes with direct prolonged physical contact between cast (intimate scenes, fight scenes), and productions are to avoid scenes with large crowds.
  • "Hands-on assistance" with wardrobe, air, and makeup is only for those "that require it and cannot do it themselves." Since people can't wear face coverings while having makeup applied, they are to "stay as silent as possible to avoid spreading droplets through talking."