LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday promised film and television industry leaders that new state guidelines would allow production to start up again in some counties, providing relief to workers forced to stop in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
An estimated 890,000 entertainment industry professionals are out of work due to COVID-19 closures.
“We’re in real time drafting guidelines related to productions, TV, commercials,” Newsom said. “We anticipate rolling out on Monday, May 25, some sectoral guidelines that would allow those counties that are in better conditions than some of the others to begin to move forward and allow some modification, allow some work to be done, allow some movement in your industry.”
And while the governor’s office assured those in attendance that staff was working with a sense of urgency to release the new guidelines, Chief of Staff Ann O’Leary said it was important to note that Los Angeles County productions might not be able to resume work as quickly.
“The biggest hurdle that we have with regard to your industry right now is this regional problem with regards to Los Angeles,” she said. “I don’t want to sugarcoat that, and it is that we have increasing cases in the L.A. area, and so because of that it is going to have some delays in the Los Angeles region.”
Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, thanked Newsom for hosting the discussion.
“Our industry is quite important to the state and quite important to the world in terms of providing entertainment, providing escapism, but also providing employment and keeping people sustained,” he said. “This is a great time for us to figure out how we get back to work safely.”
Netflix has already resumed production in South Korea, Iceland and Sweden where crews follow local safety protocols, including voluntary quarantines ahead of production, testing and maintaining distance when possible.
Those kinds of changes are what Stacey Morris, a makeup artist, said would have to make in order to establish a new normal.
“Looking forward, we know this is not just going to disappear overnight, so we are going to have to navigate through this virus as safely and sanely as we possibly can,” she said. “We are trying to put together those protocols … not only protecting ourselves but protecting each other.”
She said maintaining social distance would be an important, though difficult, change as production resumes, a concern shared by Jon Huertas, an actor on the NBC show “This Is Us.”
“We work in close proximity,” he said. “We consider ourselves a family, and so when we talk about the protocols and the guidelines that we may be following when we get back into production it’s really kind of daunting to all of us.”
“This Is Us” operates with a crew of more than 200 and a large ensemble cast.
Other roundtable participants included Sonia Angell, Ava DuVernay, Tom Steyer, Danny Stephens-Lo and Julie Su.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)