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California Held Back the Promised Reopening Guidelines for Movie Production This Week

By Anders Bylund – May 26, 2020 at 9:19AM

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Gov. Gavin Newsom was eager to get film studios back in action, but his office respected a more safety-focused attitude from industry insiders.

The State of California updated its stay-at-home orders on Monday, May 25. The new framework includes guidelines for opening shopping centers and places of worship, but Gov. Gavin Newsom's office did not provide a roadmap for restarting the production of movies and TV shows.

No opening plan for movie studios

Newsom was champing at the bit to get the media studios back in action last week. However, union representatives and executives from Comcast (CMCSA -3.62%) and Netflix (NFLX -1.78%) made it clear that they would prefer to stay on the sidelines as long as the COVID-19 crisis presents a real threat to safe working conditions in an active studio environment.

An empty movie theater with the silver screen showing a man in a disposable blue safety mask.

Image source: Getty Images.

The governor bowed out of that call with a promise to consider those safety-focused views. California's "Resilience Roadmap" was indeed updated on Monday, but the proposed first draft of a media production restart was nowhere to be found.

"CA has continued to flatten the curve because folks are staying home, practicing physical distancing, and taking this seriously. Let's keep it up," Newsom said in a tweet outlining the guidelines.

Health requirements

California's COVID-19 policies are rolling out on a county-by-county basis, allowing stores and services to open when they have met certain thresholds in their pandemic mitigation efforts. Los Angeles County, where most of Hollywood's content production studios are located, is still an active hot spot that reported 1,47 new COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths on Monday.

Simply meeting the minimum requirements might not be enough to garner support from the movie industry, as many insiders would classify movie sets in the "higher-risk workplace" category, which is slated to reopen in the next stage of California's four-step plan under a stricter set of health requirements. The return to normal movie production operations could take a while.

Anders Bylund owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends Comcast. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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