The state of California has new plans today for how churches and malls can begin to reopen from coronavirus lockdown, but not a peep from Governor Gavin Newsom this Memorial Day on his promised Film & TV production guidelines – at least not yet.
“This was prematurely announced with little buy-in from interested parties, so no surprise it didn’t happen as planned, is it?” snarled a top industry player on Monday of Gov. Newsom missing his own deadline of today.
First made public on May 20 in a teleconference on the latest episode of Newsom’s Economic Recovery & Reinvention Listening Tour, the “real time drafting guidelines” would lay out how the big screen and the small screen in the home of Hollywood could get back to work after all production came to a halt in late March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Complicating matters even more than the blindsiding that many studios, streamers, unions and agencies felt from the Governor’s outburst to the likes of Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Oscar nominee Ava DuVernay, This Is Us’ Jon Huertas and others on the web event last week, is the fact that for all the hype the new plans wouldn’t actually pertain to L.A. County itself.
The region that contains the most production in the world is still being battered by the respiratory disease.
Even as more and more business and public spaces were opened up this long weekend, County Public Health officials said Monday that there had been over 1,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 12 death in the area as of 8 PM last night. With L.A. proving stubbornly resistant to efforts to more comprehensively flatten the curve and many residents out over the holiday without mandatory masks and not social distancing, that brings the total cases in the County up to more than 46,000 with over 2.100 fatalities so far.
The Governor’s office did not respond to requests from Deadline today on why the promised Film and TV guidelines were not released. As the Industry-Wide Safety Committee, individual guilds and studio fashion their own plans, Sacramento also did not indicate in any fashion as to when their production reopening guidelines would finally be made public.
On the other hand, going shopping or to a mosque, church, temple, synagogue or other places of worship in the Golden State just got a little easier. In the second phase of the Governor’s self-described Resilience Roadmap, retailers and religion were given the green light this morning online to open their doors, with some restrictions still in place. Shifting from curbside pick-up to in-store purchases and prayer, under state guidance both types of institutions can have a semblance of their normal routine – as Gov. Newsom tweeted out earlier Monday:
NEW: Counties can now begin re-opening houses of worship and in-store shopping for retail.
CA has continued to flatten the curve because folks are staying home, practicing physical distancing, and taking this seriously.
Let’s keep it up.
LEARN MORE: https://t.co/KgYLbjTh3t
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) May 25, 2020
Awaiting County approval and once a dedicated coronavirus prevention scheme is in place, houses of worship will now be allowed to operate at 25% capacity or with 100 or less patrons, with the lower number taking precedence. This leap of faith comes just a few days after Donald Trump promised to “override” states that kept the church doors shut. Though most retailers were already well on their way to being open, the new rules for them allow everyone to start ringing the cash registers, except grooming establishments like hair and nail salons.
“Together, our actions have helped bend the curve and reduce infections in our state. As sectors continue to open with changes that aim to lower risk, remember that COVID-19 is still present in our communities,” said Dr. Sonia Angell in a statement this holiday Monday. “As more of us may be leaving our homes, keeping physical distance, wearing face coverings in public, and washing your hands frequently are more important than ever to help protect yourself and those around you,” the State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health added.
L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn had written to Gov. Newsom on May 21 urging him to reopen all retail outlets in California, with limited capacity. The politically ambitious Hahn took a Twitter victory lap today:
ALL retail stores statewide will now be able to reopen for in-store shopping under the same rules Target and Walmart have been able to operate under throughout this crisis. https://t.co/5YggUVmhbk
— Janice Hahn (@SupJaniceHahn) May 25, 2020
Still, crickets from Hollywood as nada from Sacramento as the latter fumbled its own unveiling.
Erik Pedersen contributed to this report.