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Film & TV Shoots Begin But Safety Requirements Vary in Europe

Several European countries, including traditional international production locations, such as the Czech Republic and Iceland, have allowed film and television shoots to re-start after shutdowns due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

2020-05-15T15:51:00Z

Courtesy : Samma3a

While the coronavirus curve in India is only rising, the same has begun to flatten in Europe. Owing to that, several European countries, including traditional international production locations, such as the Czech Republic and Iceland, have allowed film and television shoots to re-start after shutdowns due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

This week, territories from Poland to Portugal also unveiled their plans to get the cameras rolling again, with new COVID-19 regulations that will allow local and international productions.

Certain hygienic guidelines are near-universal, including social distancing of around 2 meters (6.5 feet) between crew members and the use of face masks and disinfection protocols. Closed sets are required almost everywhere, as are limits on the numbers of people on set at any one time.

But digging down into the details, the rules for shooting vary from territory to territory and in some cases within a single country. Spain, for example, has opened up shooting in areas with very low rates of COVID-19 transmissions, such as the Canary Islands and the Valencia region, but is being much more restrictive in major cities like Madrid or Barcelona, which still have high contagion levels.

In Paris, certain areas of the city have been designated green zones, where shooting will be allowed, while a ban remains in place in red-zoned sections.

Filmmakers looking to take advantage of Europe's re-opening also need to keep an eye on travel restrictions. The Czech Republic opened up its borders for non-European travelers on May 11, but cast and crew have to submit to a COVID-19 test and provide evidence of a negative result before entering the country. In Iceland, all foreign visitors are required to enter a 14-day quarantine but, notes Iceland's Film Commissioner Einar Hansen Tomasson, crews can get special dispensation to work while in quarantine. "You can fly in and be quarantined in your hotel and on location," he tells The Hollywood Reporter. "You can do a 13-day shoot and be done before even finishing your isolation."

In much of the rest of Europe, there are major restrictions on travel from non-EU countries. Europe’s external borders will remain closed for most travel at least until mid-June.

Returning home could also be a problem. The U.S. shut its borders to European travelers in March and has yet to lift them. While restrictions do not apply to American citizens, there is still a great deal of uncertainty. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said last week that President Donald Trump and U.S. health officials were examining the issue of international travel but did not provide further details.

For producers eager to start filming, what remains is a jungle of national regulations to work through. On the plus side, local service companies, starved of visiting production for months, are champing at the bit. "Everyone is hungry to get back to work," says Tomasson, echoing the sentiment across Europe. "And we'll do whatever it takes to make it happen."

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