Kaunda Selisho
Lifestyle Journalist
3 minute read
4 May 2020
3:12 pm

Film and television production houses can now resume operations

Kaunda Selisho

Jackson Mthembu, in his capacity as Acting Communications Minister, recently signed and gazetted directions governing the new normal for production sets.

As of 4 May, electronic communication services, network services, advertising agencies as well as film and television production companies can legally resume operations.

This after Jackson Mthembu, in his capacity as acting communications and digital technologies minister, signed and gazetted directions on the risk-adjusted strategy for the information and communication technology (ICT) sector.

The gazetted directions apply in addition to the existing restrictions and rules that are in place across all sectors and alert levels. This is over and above the existing Covid-19 health protocols and sanitation requirements.

Speaking at a briefing about the department of sport, arts and culture’s response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their sector as well as an update on the disbursement of the relief funding that was made available to the department in March, Sports Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa took the time to outline the rules governing these operations under level 4.

On the matter of live streaming during the lockdown, Mthetwa said this continued to be allowed under very strict conditions.

“We have directions for the actual work, which should take place to ensure we indeed get the assistance to those artists who would be successful and who have applied,” said Mthethwa.

Performing arts institutions or playhouses that have the relevant infrastructure or facilities used for the creation and production of local content can now produce content for streaming and live streaming without audiences.

Additionally, they will have to follow the following mitigation measures as determined by the department:

  • Monologues, minimal cast and technical support are required
  • Productions must take place in compliance with Regulation 28, sub-section 2 of the latest iteration of the Disaster Management Act, which requires that a compliance official be appointed to ensure that safety controls are strictly adhered to
  • All directions in respect of health protocols and exposure to persons with Covid-19 must be adhered to as per Regulation 16, sub-section 6

Similar regulations have been outlined to govern film and TV productions using a local cast, living legends and crew.

“This will include jobs throughout the value chain of production and post-production such as technical crew of sound engineers, special effects and animators,” said Mthethwa.

Production houses who wish to resume operations will have to follow all directions in respect of health protocols and exposure to persons with Covid-19 as per Regulation 16, sub-section 6.

There will also have to be heightened visibility of protocol information as well as information regarding the risk of spreading Covid-19 and what behaviour is expected from everyone on set.

These advisories must be displayed in common areas and must be copied to all personnel of the company.

Government has also prepared guidelines to prepare the workplace and dictate the daily routine to be established thereafter.

Among these guidelines are rules governing the sanitisation of all surfaces before a shoot commences as well as sanitisation during each shoot day and after wrap each day.

Productions will now have to hire dedicated cleaning staff who will work on a regular rotation to keep all surfaces clean, especially in bathrooms.

They will also have to keep a daily register of all persons granted access to the set with details of their daily temperatures.

Where possible all crew and cast must use their own transport but for those without their own, production must provide transport in accordance with level 4 regulations.

Shared craft and catering areas have been banned for the foreseeable future and craft services meals must instead be packed in individual boxes with sealed cutlery. Alternatively, staff can bring their own food. Each crew and cast member must be supplied with their own water bottles.

As per the regulations governing mass gatherings, a maximum number of cast and crew allowed on set at any given time is 50 people.

Curfew time must be adhered to in order to ensure that there are no people out in public between 8pm and 5am each day.

Watch the address below:

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