The ongoing surge in new COVID cases in California could mean further restrictions are placed on citizens, and in turn, the film and television industry.
The California Department of Public Health reported over 20,000 new cases on December 2 and there are fears the recent Thanksgiving weekend will lead to more.
LA County reported 5987 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the cumulative total to 414,185. There are 2,439 people hospitalised, the highest level of the entire pandemic, with ICU beds at worrying low levels. The virus is infecting more people at a faster rate than ever in LA, even as the county is delivering more tests than ever before.
“We’re seeing terrifying increases in numbers in L.A. County,” said that region’s public health director, Barbara Ferrer. “That can only be turned around if everyone — businesses and individuals — use the tools to slow the spread.”
Local government officials recently decided against pulling the plug on overnight location filming in Los Angeles and instead urged producers to avoid doing so for the next month.
Current orders impose requirements on film productions regarding workplace social distancing, use of personal protective equipment, hours of filming activity, regular sanitation and employee testing. The protocols do not limit the size of productions in terms of people, beyond what is safe and practical for social distancing in a confined space. The filming of large crowd scenes is also discouraged.
Los Angeles also reversed the planned closure of a coronavirus testing site, after the news it would be closed because of a film remake of She’s All That was met with widespread uproar. FilmLA, which handles location permitting for the city, said that a cast and crew of about 170 people was expected on site, and that the permitting organisation had not initially been aware that there was a coronavirus testing site at the location.
California currently has a Limited Stay at Home Order requiring citizens in some counties to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., with some exceptions.
But with the rise in cases a “blanket order” to stay at home may be forthcoming and likely would affect areas of the state representing most of California’s population.