Should the film industry be shut down during the COVID-19 surge?

Los Angeles County public health officials are urging production companies to “strongly consider” going on temporary hiatus amid a surge that has left hospitals struggling to keep up with coronavirus patients.

Film activity is permitted to continue — with safety protocols — under state and local COVID-19 health restrictions.

According to FilmLA, the nonprofit agency that coordinates film permitting in the Los Angeles area, health officials sent a letter to industry officials last week reminding them of the current surge in COVID cases and its impact on the emergency medical system.

While urging film companies to exercise caution, the letter asked industry leaders “to strong 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.”

FilmLA was also asked by health officials to remind industry officials that “travel for production purposes is currently not advised.” Despite such travel technically being permitted under health restrictions, such activity makes it “more likely that people will end up together in vehicles or indoors in less-controlled settings,” according to the letter.

Continued filming operations made headlines recently thanks to a Sherman Oaks restaurant owner’s viral video rant, blasting health officials for shutting down her outdoor dining patio while allowing a film crew to set up an outdoor catering tent across the street to serve food to crew members.

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