Like many other industries, film production was shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic made its impact across the world in early 2020. As restrictions have loosened, production has resumed, but every filmmaking project still needs to ensure the health and safety of those on set.
Now more than ever, it is important to keep your cast and crew safe. There are also new requirements you must meet to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and provide a safe environment for filming. Here are some ways you can help ensure COVID compliance on set.
Check Your Local Jurisdictions
Depending on the location you will be filming in, on-site production might only be allowed if you’ve obtained a permit. These permits are proof that you will comply with established health and safety protocols such as social distancing, wearing PPE, and implementing regular sanitation. Specific protocols may be required by state, local, and county jurisdictions.
Production might also have to adhere to local curfews. For example, a curfew may restrict non-essential activities between 10pm and 5am. In some cases, you may additionally be required to align with filmmaking guilds and unions. The first step to ensure COVID compliance on set is to check that you are operating within local guidelines.
Designate a COVID-19 Compliance Officer
It’s highly recommended that every production project has a COVID-19 Compliance Officer. This crew member will:
- Help establish your comprehensive COVID-19 safety plan
- Conduct risk assessments and implement controls that will minimize exposure
- Train your cast and crew on COVID-19 compliance
- Enforce safety protocols during filming
- Address issues that arise and manage outbreaks through contact tracing
COVID-19 Compliance Officers undergo specialized training and certification to take on the responsibility of safety enforcement. Not only will an officer ensure you are adhering to local requirements, but having a designated employee to handle these elements will provide you the freedom to focus on filming.
Train Cast & Crew on COVID Compliance
Before production begins, every single person on your film set should understand the rules and regulations that have been set in place to ensure safety during the pandemic. They should also understand the individual actions they must take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These actions include:
- Social distancing (staying at least six feet away from other people)
- Wearing PPE such as cloth face coverings
- Frequently washing their hands or using hand sanitizer
- Staying home if they are exhibiting common symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, recent loss of taste or smell)
- Frequently disinfecting tools and equipment
While the COVID-19 Compliance Officer will play an important role in initial training, each individual must be vigilant every day about washing their hands, keeping their distance, and reducing exposure. Your COVID-19 safety protocol also extends to any visitors who may come on set.
Cleaning & Disinfecting
One of the most important aspects to COVID compliance is continually cleaning and disinfecting with products that have been approved for use against COVID-19 by the EPA. On set, you’ll need to clean and disinfect shared items and spaces as well as individual equipment.
High traffic areas, such as break rooms and building entrances, need to be thoroughly and regularly cleaned. It’s also recommended to refrain from using communal items such as coffee pots and microwaves. Instead, provide your cast and crew with individually packaged refreshments. If equipment, such as cameras, has to be shared on set, it should be cleaned and disinfected between each use.
Individual workspaces and items also need to be cleaned and disinfected each day. This includes radios, walkie-talkies, headsets, and microphones. Try to assign each individual on set their own personal equipment and ensure that they are the only person who uses that equipment throughout the duration of production. Remember to wash your hands before and after you clean.
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Special Considerations for Filmmaking
Once you resume production safely, there are bound to be special circumstances that come up which are unique to the filmmaking industry and make it difficult to adhere to established safety protocols. This is when having a COVID-19 Compliance Officer is especially beneficial. Your officer can help you handle unique situations, such as:
- Providing hand hygiene supplies even when filming in outdoor locations. This may involve installing mobile hand washing stations.
- Holding auditions virtually when possible. Even during in-person sessions, enough space needs to be provided to allow for social distancing.
- Providing face masks, face shields, and other protection to crew members who do have to be in close proximity to the cast—for example, makeup artists, hair stylists, and costumers.
Your COVID-19 Compliance Officer will conduct risk assessments for every situation and determine controls to implement to reduce exposure. No matter your circumstances, you can ensure safety is at the forefront each day.
Purchase COVID-19 Cleaning & PPE Supplies at Wits End
While filming during a pandemic does present its challenges, it is possible to complete your production projects safely and on schedule. By working with a COVID-19 Compliance Officer and following safety guidelines, everyone on your film set can do their part to ensure production is completed successfully and safely.
Wits End has all of the sanitation and PPE supplies you need to help ensure COVID compliance on set. From face masks and hand sanitizer to soaps, disinfectant, mops, and much more, we have everything you need to keep your cast and crew safe.