Louisiana readies to resume movie, TV filming amid pandemic
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana released coronavirus safety guidelines for movie and TV productions Monday, as filming is expected to start returning to the virus outbreak hot spot this month.
The safety rules — issued by the Louisiana economic development department’s entertainment division — say movie and TV productions should have a coronavirus compliance officer, provide testing for workers and require everyone except performers to wear masks. The department calls for using temperature checks to enter production areas, distancing people at the locations and using digital scripts when possible, among other rules.
Most filming in Louisiana has been on hold since March, when the state confirmed its first infection of the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus. But Louisiana’s economic development department said some productions are readying to resume filming this month and in September.
“We are doing everything in our power to ensure the health and safety of all who live and work in Louisiana during this challenging time,” Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said in a statement. “This commitment extends to the entertainment industry as we prepare to welcome motion picture production back to our state.”
Trey Burvant, president of the Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association, said 15 shows were filming in the state before the pandemic.
Louisiana has had one of the highest per capita infection rates in the United States in recent weeks, with more than 120,000 confirmed coronavirus cases since early March, according to the state health department. The numbers of actual infections are thought to be far higher because many people can be asymptomatic and never get tested.
The number of Louisiana residents who have died from COVID-19 reached 3,910 on Monday. More than 74,000 people are presumed recovered from COVID-19 in the state.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe or fatal illness.