Cape Town Film Permit Office open for business

21 May 2020

The City of Cape Town’s Film Permit Office has resumed operations.

The office issued its first permits this week following a two-month pause forced by the worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The resumption of the permitting process is in line with the National Government announcement allowing local production film companies to return to work during lockdown Level 4.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

As part of its permitting process, the City’s Film Permit Office has developed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) aimed at ensuring all film workplaces adhere to regulations as required by the National Disaster Management Act.

The approved SOP will require production companies to comply with the following actions, among others:

  • Daily screening of staff, cast and crew at the start of each shift/shoot. A record of their daily temperature should also be kept.
  • Display COVID-19 awareness information including workplace protocols in common areas and copies provided to all staff
  • Regularly disinfect production sets/workspaces before and after filming
  • Provide mandatory cloth masks or face shields for cast and crew
  • Ensure the number of people on set does not exceed 50 people as per the Arts and Culture Ministry directions
  • Disinfect workplace equipment and props before they are returned to storage or service providers
  • Allow only necessary permitted people on set
  • Ensure 70% alcohol-based hand sanitiser is made available for all cast, crew and service providers on sets and workspaces

Keeping production safe

‘This document was shared with members of the film industry for comment and they have agreed to abide by the strict guidelines aimed at avoiding the spread of COVID-19. It also outlines the basic technical measures the companies have to put in place in the workplace to contain the spread of the Coronavirus and to protect their employees,’ says the Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security JP Smith.

The Film Permit Office will only accept online applications and walk-ins will not be allowed at the Civic Centre to minimise any risk of exposure to COVID-19.

The office will require a risk assessment and a COVID-19 mitigation plan for every location being used before a film permit is issued. Our law enforcement agencies will monitor compliance and will be there to advise production companies on the implementation of the COVID-19 mitigation and safety measures.

‘We would like to urge all those attached to the film industry, and who will be going out to film locations, to please adhere to the protocols as well as all applicable regulations in terms of hygiene on set and observing physical distancing to ensure the safety of all those on set,’ Smith adds.

Important sector

‘This is an important industry because not only does it provide entertainment, it is a great financial contributor to the local economy with an estimated R3.5 billion a year and employs thousands of people, creating job opportunities for our local Cape Town communities.

‘Ensuring the safe regulated return to the film work of this industry will act as a catalyst for the return to work of the broad range of service providers that support this industry,’ says the City’s Executive Mayor Dan Plato.