11 May 2020
By Xolani Koyana
As the film industry prepares to resume some operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Cape Town has developed mandatory operating procedures aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus during film productions.
The industry is among a number of sectors that shut down during the start of the nationwide lockdown, forced by the spread of the deadly virus.
After a five-week lockdown, the national government has eased regulations to level 4 – paving the way for some filming to take place.
Recently gazetted regulations by the Department of Communication and Digital Communications state that under level 4, film and television productions using local cast and crew can return to work, subject to adherence to health protocols and to any additional requirements
The revised regulations will also bring some economic relief to ancillary services throughout the value chain of film production. This includes companies involved in equipment rental, catering, transportation, pre and post -production services such as editing, sound, special effects and animators who may work in specialised studios.
Level 4 regulations also allow for productions for local broadcast and live streaming in support of Covid-19 subjects.
Filming on sets will also be guided by stringent guidelines, part of the permit process, which the City of Cape Town’s permit office has circulate to film producers for comment before final approval.
Some of the highlights of the proposed SOP include:
The City’s Film Permit Office is equipping its staff to effectively handle the incoming permit applications as well as increased monitoring of film sets, production workspaces and other film activities over the coming weeks.
They will be assisted by the City’s law enforcement agencies who are already tasked with enforcing the national state of disaster regulations.
The protocols are in line with the National Department of Health’s Covid-19 Occupational Health and Safety Measures in the workplace.
In addition, they also take into account the Labour Department-issued directives for employers to follow in the process of returning to work. These include: