British Columbia Film Production to Restart Amid Safety Guidelines

The sun rises on the skyline -Vancouver, Canada - Getty - H 2020
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Hollywood cast and creative will still be required to quarantine for two weeks when crossing the border, slowing the return of the major studios and streamers for new or restarted production.

Film and television productions in British Columbia has a greenlight to restart a couple months after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered local shoots for Netflix, Warner Bros. and other Hollywood studios and streamers.

"Employers can now prepare to restart production activity," the B.C. Provincial Film Commission at CreativeB.C. said in a statement on Friday. The go ahead follows WorkSafeBC, another government agency charged with reducing the risk of serious injuries on local movie sets, including by stunt performers, issuing Health & Safety Protocols to guide the industry's reopening with minimum standards.

Film and TV producers will be expected to develop their own workplace safety plans and use the WorkSafeBC protocols as a possible template. CreativeB.C. added no government authorization was required for new or returning production by Canadian and foreign producers to take place.

"The motion picture industry in B.C. was never ordered to shut down, however, all employers carefully restarting activity must be in compliance with provincial health officer orders, notices and guidance, and must develop and implement their own COVID-19 safety plans," the agency stated.

The B.C. production sector  has long been dominated by Hollywood film and TV shoots. Local U.S. TV series shoots in and around Vancouver that were suspended in mid-March included the 15th season of Supernatural, the fifth season of Van Helsing, and the first seasons of Resident Aliens and The Astronauts.

Hollywood's exodus from Vancouver was in part accelerated by The CW's Riverdale shutting down production on its fourth season after a team member on the WBTV drama's Vancouver set coming in contact with a person who tested positive for the coronavirus.

The westernmost Canadian province has since brought the incidence of new coronavirus cases and deaths under control. As of June 5, B.C. has had 2,632 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 167 confirmed deaths from the virus and only one new case since June 4.

The province is, however, still holding the line on cross-border travel as B.C. retains a mandatory quarantine for returning travelers, including Hollywood actors, directors and producers. The provincial government has not yet indicated when Americans will be allowed to cross the border without self-isolating for 14 days, leaving the likely return of Hollywood production to later this summer or the fall.