Many countries continue to wait for safety protocols that will allow film or audiovisual production work, with the Philippines among the first few nations where cameras can start rolling again.
Last May 16, government gave permission for film, television, and other audiovisual shoots in some parts of the country, after easing of community quarantine classifications.
Film, music and TV production have been allowed in Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) and General Community Quarantine (GCQ) areas, with strict adherence to government-issued health and safety protocols. Production work is partially allowed with a 50 percent operational capacity while production work in ECQ areas is prohibited.
Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chairperson and CEO Liza Diño-Seguerra said, “The resumption of production work is welcome news for the film and audiovisual industry. During our meetings with the National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Trade and Industry, and other frontline agencies, the FDCP asserted how film and the audiovisual industry have been integral to our country during this pandemic.”
“As we were stuck in our homes, with nothing to do, films, series and television shows accompanied us during these challenging times. They even served as sources of joy, strength, and inspiration,” she added. “We are pleased that our government allowed us to gradually ease into this new normal. But as we move towards this, compliance is of utmost importance. We need to make sure that we can keep each other safe while we set the ball rolling for our industry that was among the hardest-hit business sectors in the COVID-19 crisis.”
The FDCP earlier issued a Memorandum Order on Interim Guidelines on Safety Protocols for the conduct of film and audiovisual production shoots to mitigate COVID-19 while waiting for approval of the final guidelines by the Department of Health (DOH) and Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Producers and employers are expected to comply with safety and health standards in all workplaces, aiming at increasing their workers’ physical and mental resilience, reducing transmission, minimizing contact rate, and minimizing risk of infection. All workers must be insured in every production, with accident insurance as minimum coverage.
Social distancing must be strictly enforced in all phases of production. Meetings and castings should be done online, and alternative work arrangements must be in place for employees except for those who are part of the essential skeletal workforce. If on-site casting is needed, there must be physical distancing and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves. Before reporting to work, members of the cast and crew must submit health declarations specific to COVID-19.
For on-site work, a maximum of 50 people are allowed on the set. Workers must maintain a one-meter distance from colleagues and cameras must be two meters away from talents. Big crowd scenes like concerts, rallies, parties, and championship games are still not allowed while for intimate scenes, both actors must test negative for COVID-19 and give their consent before filming. A certified medical personnel must be on the set at all times to do temperature checks and enforce health precautionary measures when a cast or crew start showing symptoms. Producers and employers are required to provide for their workers face masks, hand sanitizers and alcohol, packets of tissues, and access to handwashing areas on the set. Face masks and other applicable PPEs must be worn by the cast and crew.