Written by Shona Smith on Nov 4, 2020. Posted in General Interest

Film, TV and advertising production continues under second lockdown

National restrictions in England will see cinemas, pubs and restaurants, gyms and non-essential shops close for a minimum of four weeks from Friday 5 November. Unlike the first lockdown wave, TV, film and advertising will not halt. 

In contrast to the first wave cameras are able to continue to roll with productions adhering to comprehensive Covid health and safety guidance.

Ongoing updating and adapting of protocols ensure they are fit for purpose. Productions in the UK are guided by film and High end Television, Broadcast TV production guidelines, Advertising Producers Association Guidelines and UK Screen Alliance for safe working in for Visual Effects (VFX) and Post-Production.

Shortly after the prime ministers statement press conference Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden clarified that working from home should be done where possible. Travel to a place of work is permitted for permitted  for elite sport played behind closed doors, film & TV production and telecoms workers during the "second lockdown". Advertising production, which was the first sector to begin shooting again after the initial lockdown, can also continue.

A similar picture emerges across Europe as shoots that adhere to Covid protocols are deemed exempt from lockdown measures. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own restrictions in place, but production such as ITV's Wales version of I'm a Celebrity will take place. However, across the UK and elsewhere it is advisable to check with local authorities as approval may be needed for productions to go ahead.

Responding to the UK Government’s announcement of a second national lockdown, Adrian Wootton OBE, Chief Executive of the British Film Commission, said “Despite the extraordinary and difficult circumstances surrounding this second national lockdown, it’s a great relief to see confirmation from the Culture Secretary that we have Government’s support to continue Film and TV Production in the UK during lockdown, so long as productions are safely working within the extremely rigorous and comprehensive COVID safety guidance prepared by the British Film Commission, developed in liaison with Government and industry.”

The UK Government is advising UK nationals against all but essential international travel during the lockdown. However quarantine exemptions for members of a production remain in place. Film and high-end TV productions who access the UK tax reliefs remain in place meaning that cast and crew travelling to the UK for a shoot, and those returning home from working on a production are exempt from self-isolation. Similar rules apply to incoming directors, DoP's and artists coming into the UK for an advertising shoot.

The BFI have up to date information on financial support measures for freelancers, self-employed and PAYE workers as well as SME businesses that have changed due to the second lockdown. Changes to self-assessment payments, the Self-employed Income Support Scheme and other measures that have been updated in the light of November restrictions.

UK Culture Secretary confirms that people should work from home where possible but travel to a place of work is permitted where it is not possible. This includes film & TV production, telecoms workers and elite sport played behind closed doors.

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