UK quarantine exemption to kick-start production

The exempted crew will have to form exclusive live/work bubbles  

By Nia Daniels 6 Jul 2020

UK quarantine exemption to kick-start production
Image - Mission: Impossible – Fallout, via Paramount Pictures - © 2018 Paramount Pictures

UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden has announced an agreement to include quarantine exemption for key incoming production staff, thus enabling the resumption of filming on high-end TV and feature projects. 

The waiver, which also covers those involved in international sporting events, means that those essential to a UK production will not have to quarantine for 14 days, as long as they adhere to a package of further safety measures including living and working in a controlled ‘bubbled’ environment behind closed doors. 

Dowden said: “As a kick-start for the UK’s world-leading screen industries, new government guidance will also be published this week that will allow small numbers of essential cast and crew to travel to the UK without having to quarantine for fourteen days.

“It means production can safely get going on some of the biggest international blockbusters being filmed on our shores.

Dowden spoke to American actor and director Tom Cruise about how the exemption will allow production to resume on Mission: Impossible 7 and 8, which are being shot at the Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden in Hertfordshire.

Dowden added: “The world’s biggest blockbusters and high-end TV shows are made in Britain.

“Our creativity, expertise and highly successful tax reliefs for our screen industries means that we are an in-demand location that in turn delivers a great return for our economy.

“We want the industry to bounce back and exempting small numbers of essential cast and crew from quarantine is part of our continued commitment to getting cameras rolling safely again.

“This is welcome news not just for film lovers but the thousands employed across the screen industries and the sectors it supports.

“The exemption applies to those individuals coming into England specifically to work on film and television productions which qualify as British under one of the government’s cultural tests or official co-production treaties.

“Any such individuals will be required to remain for 14 days within a ‘bubble’ that includes only their place of accommodation and production location.

“The screen industry has made considerable progress preparing to resume work, including through the BFI’s industry COVID-19 Screen Sector Task Force and the swift delivery of the British Film Commission’s new production guidance.

“The exemption recognises the ability of international productions to isolate cast and crew from the general public, and that individual studios and production companies have developed practical solutions for safe working practices, including rolling out new training programmes for screen industry workers filming in studios and on location.

Adrian Wootton OBE, chief executive of the British Film Commission, said: “Today’s immensely welcome news is also a clear recognition of the importance of the film and high-end TV inward investment sector to the UK’s economy. The sector was worth over £3bn in 2019, and has a clear role to play in our economic recovery following the lockdown.

“While the British Film Commission COVID-19 production guidance published last month is already helping to restart production safely, this considered exemption will allow international cast and crew back in the country, and back on set, to continue work on the blockbuster films and high-end TV productions at our biggest studio facilities.”

Ben Roberts, BFI chief executive, said: “It’s great news that film and television production have been granted quarantine exemption, one of the key outcomes from the work of the BFI’s Screen Sector Task Force, which in tandem with the UK’s COVID-19 industry guidance, means that film and television productions that are reliant on international talent, will be able to go ahead, generating jobs and securing a pipeline of new work for those working across the wider industry.

“Film and television are worth £9.9 billion to the UK economy and being able to get production back up and running as quickly as possible is going to help our industry and its 77,000 production workers contribute to the UK’s economic recovery.

“The announcement follows the Government’s latest review of its public health measures for all UK arrivals from overseas, and marks the latest phase of the measured approach around easing the burdens of lockdown in a way that is expected to keep the R rate, the average number of secondary infections produced by 1 infected person, down.”

Image - Mission: Impossible – Fallout, via Paramount Pictures - © Paramount Pictures.

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