British Film Commission Updates COVID-Safe Guidelines for Film and TV Production During Second Lockdown
England may be going into a month-long second lockdown from Thursday, but it’s largely business as usual where film and TV production is concerned.
The British Film Commission (BFC) has updated its COVID-safe rules for filming, which were first published June 1. While England residents are advised not to travel overseas or within the U.K., production is exempt.
“This exemption covers all aspects of the production process, including scouting and recces. It includes travelling for work purposes within England and internationally. Staying in a hotel for work purposes is permitted,” the BFC document states.
“Filming can continue to take place in the premises of businesses that are closed to the general public due to the new Health Protection Regulations. This includes work on films and television programs,” the document continues.
Production can also continue under the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The BFC document asks productions to refer to local advice while travelling to and from those regions. “Productions should always consider whether there are local restrictions in place where they are filming,” the document states.
BFC guidelines were prepared in consultation with the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) with input from crew representatives, industry bodies, unions and associated orgs in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and in consultation with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.
Cinemas, theaters and several businesses across England deemed non-essential shut down for a month from Thursday. The restrictions lift Dec. 2.
Meanwhile, U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has extended the furlough scheme that was due to end in October and subsequently extended till the end of November, right through to March 2021.
“To give people across the U.K. certainty over the winter, I can announce today that the furlough scheme will not be extended for one month — it will be extended until the end of March. Employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to £2,500 [$3,273] a month,” Sunak tweeted on Thursday.
To give people across the UK certainty over the winter, I can announce today that the furlough scheme will not be extended for one month – it will be extended until the end of March.
Employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to £2,500 a month. pic.twitter.com/WtTqOcR61a
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) November 5, 2020
The furlough encompasses the job retention scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
Creative industry union Bectu has welcomed the move, but says it is not comprehensive enough. “Last minute announcements have left many Bectu members either without an income or in a vicious cycle of being fired and rehired,” said Philippa Childs, head of Bectu. “The extension of SEISS and the job retention scheme to the end of March will come as a huge relief to thousands in the creative industries who were anxious about another looming deadline at the start of December.”
“However, the announcement will not help the thousands of theater, cinema and live events workers who have already been made redundant. Nor will it help the three million self-employed and freelance workers, including thousands of Bectu members, who have been excluded from government support since March due to the limitations of SEISS. The Chancellor must urgently address these gaping holes in support.”