Despite Los Angeles County being placed on a “watch list” yesterday by California following a resurgence in Coronavirus cases, health department officials announced today that TV and film productions can resume effective Friday, June 12 afterall. The daytime soap operas, which include “The Bold and the Beautiful,” “Days of our Lives,” “General Hospital” and “The Young and the Restless,” are all produced within Los Angeles County.
According to Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, an order outlining modifications to the initial health order her office initiated to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 will be released tomorrow, June 11. It’s understood that the required protocols to be followed by the industry will also be released tomorrow. In addition to TV/film productions, other sectors able to re-open in L.A. County on Friday include “gyms, day camps, museums, zoos, campgrounds, pro sports arenas (without live audiences) and hotels,” reports Deadline.
L.A. County allowing productions to resume coincides with the initial order given by California Governor Gavin Newsom, who on Friday, June 5, announced in a statement that music, TV and films production could resume no sooner than Friday, June 12 “subject to approval by county public health officers within the jurisdictions of operations following their review of local epidemiological data including cases per 100,000 population, rate of test positivity, and local preparedness to support a health care surge, vulnerable populations, contact tracing and testing.” The announcement notes that to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, “productions, cast, crew and other industry workers should abide by safety protocols agreed by labor and management, which may be further enhanced by county public health officers. Back office staff and management should adhere to Office Workspace guidelines published by the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Industrial Relations, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.”
Last week, members of the state’s Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force — which includes TV/Film unions and academies AMPTP, SAG-AFTRA, the Directors Guild, IATSE and the Teamsters — submitted a 22-page white paper to the governors of California and New York, among others. The document includes a host of recommended protocols on the steps needed towards restarting productions while reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Some of the recommendations announced by the group include “[on] set hygiene, disinfection and maintenance, catering, mandatory employment of COVID-19 Compliance Officer(s), symptom screening, physical distancing, paid leave policies and COVID-19 training, among other critically important topics necessary for the safe resumption of production.”
In late May, “B&B” was the first soap to announce plans to resume production in June once given the go-ahead by L.A. County, TV unions and others. It’s not yet known whether it’ll be the first soap to restart production, nor when it does restart how soon new episodes could be back on the air.
Reportedly, both “B&B” and “Y&R” have already begun preparing their casts and crews with plans to undergo preliminary COVID-19 testing ahead of their return to Television City, where both soap operas are filmed.
It’s understood that even though the green light has been given, or will officially be given tomorrow, June 11, a decision on when each show will resume production has not yet been announced by their respective production studios or the TV networks airing them.
Soap Opera Network will continue following this story as it continues to develop.