With the ongoing surge in COVID cases, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is encouraging film and TV production teams to halt production for a few weeks, according to Deadline. The county reported 73 new deaths and 13,661 new COVID cases on Monday, along with an approximated 432 additional deaths that are a result of delayed reporting during the holiday weekend.
The health department said in a statement, “Although music, TV, and film productions are allowed to operate, we ask you to strongly consider pausing work for a few weeks during this catastrophic surge in COVID cases. Identify and delay higher risk activities, and focus on lower-risk work for now, if at all possible,” via Deadline. L.A. Public Health also reported the number of cases consistently exceeding 13,000 or even 15,000 cases per day, with 6,914 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 20% of those in the ICU, as reported on Monday.
L.A. Health noted, “Hospitals are full virtually everywhere,” they admonished filmmakers to “Keep cast and crew close to home,” via Deadline. They also reminded production teams of the shorter 10-day quarantine option which was updated by the CDC at the beginning of December. This advice for production teams comes as two coronavirus vaccines have now been approved with healthcare workers now receiving their first doses. Given this, the health department assured L.A. filmmakers that “there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” as Deadline iterates.
The health department also outlined low-risk options for filming, including, “moving more work outdoors, delaying higher-risk work, and putting some productions completely on pause,” as Deadline reports. There are currently 719,833 confirmed coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County with 9,482 total deaths due to COVID-19.