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The remaining COVID-19 restrictions in England and Northern Ireland — including the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test — may be coming to an end following this week’s controversial announcement by the British government. But the safety guidelines being followed by the film and TV industries are set to remain in place.
However, according to British Film Commission, the highly comprehensive Working Safely During COVID-19 in Film and High-End TV Drama Production guidelines, which they spearheaded in 2020 following a major industry-wide consultation process, would be updated to reflect the recent changes. The organization told The Hollywood Reporter that the update — which will include references to self-isolation — will be added on Feb. 24, the day that restrictions are being lifted.
The Commission also revealed that it would discuss the government’s newly announced plan, entitled Living With COVID, with its partners, but didn’t give a timeframe or suggest that the guidelines would be lifted.
“The British Film Commission will in due course consult with our COVID-19 Physical Production Working Group on Government’s Living with COVID-19 plan in relation to the Working Safely During COVID-19 in Film and High-end TV Drama Production guidance,” said Adrian Wootton OBE, chief executive of the British Film Commission and Film London. “In the immediate term, the guidance will be updated to reflect the changes to self-isolation requirements in parts of the UK.”
The guidelines, first unveiled in May 2020, aren’t legally binding, but act as a framework and covers measures such as on-set supervision, testing and health checks, mask-wearing and transport, and have been adopted widely across the U.K. Alongside the government-backed insurance program. They’ve been credited with helping reboot the post-lockdown film and TV industries, now in the midst of a major production boom.
Starting on Feb. 23, suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in England and Northern Ireland are not required to self-isolate by law. However, anyone who tests positive is advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for at least five full days and then continue to follow guidance until they have received two negative test results on consecutive days. Self-isolation requirements in Scotland and Wales, however, still remain in place.
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