UPDATED JUNE 25, 2020
The film and TV industry is eager to know when and where production is going to be coming back full force. As we know, there is no single answer for this, as COVID-19 reopening production guidelines are being set case-by-case, per state and local government film offices.
However, the AMPTP’s Industry-Wide Labor Management Safety Committee for the Motion Picture and Television Industry has released a comprehensive industry white paper on reopening production guidelines that many film offices are pointing to as a starting point.
More recently, a production union and guild task force from DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and the Teamsters put their own joint report on production guidelines called The Safe Way Forward – you can download that here.
A number of production companies have relocated shoots or entire production offices in order to film in locations with fewer COVID-19 cases or lesser restrictions on reopening production. With that in mind, we built this hub as a guide to filming in the states that have released production guidelines so far.
Which states are open for film production?
Here we’ll keep a running list of states that have opened up film production to some extent during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with links to any production guidelines they have provided. Keep this page bookmarked to continue monitoring which states have opened up for filming.
Arizona is open for film and TV production, with productions asked to follow the general workplace guidelines put forth in the governor’s executive order lifting restrictions on all businesses.
You can find information on the production protocols in place for safety on set, and find resources from the film office here.
California production was reopened by Governor Gavin Newsom on June 12, 2020.
Production is “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,” according to the California Department of Public Health.
All eyes have been on L.A. County, whose Public Health Director confirmed that film production can indeed resume, provided certain protocols have been implemented – these L.A. County production protocols were released by the L.A. County Department of Public Health on June 11.
Film permits are expected to begin flowing again as of Monday, June 15. Stay updated at FilmLA or right here on our page.
Meanwhile, the California Film Commission has made some adjustments to the application process for their production incentive program 3.0.
While normally the CFC would hold the initial allocation period in May and issue tax credit allocation letters on July 1, they have pushed back those dates and shortened the application periods to three days each due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders in the state.
Applications for Recurring and Relocating TV Series will now be taken June 22-24, and for Feature/Independent Films July 13-15. Credit allocation letter dates will be July 20 and August 17, respectively. Note no new TV projects are being accepted right now, as recurring series are oversubscribed. Learn more at the CFC’s California Production Incentive page here.
The Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media is following the statewide Safer At Home guidelines from the Governor’s office. Filming and photography permits are issued at the local level, so productions should check in with local municipalities (usually the office of the city or county clerk or the office of special events, depending on where you are filming).
The film office also suggests productions contact the local public health office to ensure they are following all required health and safety protocols. They are happy to assist getting you in touch with the right office; give them a call at 720 618 5055.
It’s no surprise to find Florida on this list, with its limited official enforcement of stay-at-home orders overall. But it’s wonderful to see Film Florida has put out some sensible guidelines to opening up production in Florida.
Those include multiple rules per department, such as the sound unit using boom-only recording when possible, labeling microphones for individual on-camera talent, and disinfecting all mics and transmitters before and after use. Self-service meals are eliminated, with crew encouraged to bring lunches and eat in their individual vehicles if possible.
Georgia Film has released a guide to best practices on production to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Georgia. Already a popular production state due to its generous incentive program, Georgia has gotten renewed attention from filmmakers looking for a state with fewer restrictions on “non-essential businesses.”
Some of the guide’s common-sense proscriptions include sharing tools, devices and paper… the office instead recommends digital call sheets and other forms of paperless production solutions.
Need a way to onboard your crew, contact-free? Check out TiM Digital Onboarding.
While the state is not yet issuing film permits for state lands, the island of Oahu reopened for production as of June 5, 2020. This includes the city of Honolulu.
The Honolulu Film Office is issuing film permits for city and county jurisdictions, on both public and private lands, and has updated Honolulu production information here. That page is home to a PDF titled COVID-19 Guidelines for the Film Industry in Honolulu 2020.
The Big Island of Hawaii is also open for production. Similar to Oahu, the island can issue film permits for local jurisdictions, just not state lands yet.
Illinois is easing back into production in phases, with the goal that by June 26, the state will be able to accommodate up to 50 people on a set provided they’re able to follow safety precautions.
The state is largely taking the lead of the Labor Management Safety Committee’s industry white paper, but expects to release its own version of production guidelines as well. Stay tuned to the Chicago Film Office website for updated guidance and filmmaker resources.
Looking for a deep dive on every film incentive in the U.S.? Explore our production incentives section here.
Louisiana is open for production, and though the state does not have specific production guidelines for COVID-19, Louisiana Entertainment, a division of Louisiana Economic Development, points to state-wide safety guidance for businesses, which you can find here.
Stay updated at the Louisiana Entertainment website or contact them directly at 225 342 5403.
Maryland is in Stage 2 of the state’s reopening plan, which allows film and TV production to resume.
The film office points to the industry white paper for best practices, but you can always find the most updated information on production protocols at the Maryland Film Office website.
Missouri is generally going by state guidelines for businesses choosing to reopen during the pandemic, but the film office is referring productions to the Kansas City Film Office, which has put out its own PDF Guidelines to COVID-Safe Production.
Highlights include establishing an Infection Prevention Compliance Supervisor Role on each production, taking temperatures on set, providing personal protective equipment and staggering meals.
Montana is open for filming on a limited basis, provided filmmakers follow general statewide guidelines for social distancing. Permits are considered on a case-by-case basis, in particular for public lands and federal agencies. National park permits are discouraged at this time but will be considered, again case-by-case.
The state asks producers to be particularly cognizant of Native American communities that may be especially vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19. Production must get approval from tribal administrations for shooting in these communities.
The film office further discourages:
- Shoots with large numbers of extras, elderly participants.
- Shoots where adequate sanitation measures cannot be taken.
- Shoots where social distancing measures would be ineffective
Production restrictions, guidelines and information will be updated at the Montana Film Office’s COVID-19 production page.
According to the Nebraska Film Office, the state never closed for production, even garnering some publicity for its claim to the first feature film shot entirely using Facetime, and directed remotely via Google Connection.
The office does have a PDF of state production guidelines here, which are not rules per se but more a set of best practices which include establishing an Infection Prevention Compliance Supervisor and all set personnel wearing masks and other PPE.
Nevada is open and providing permits in some areas of the states for productions of up to 50 persons on set.
You can get updated information on Nevada production during the COVID-19 pandemic here.
The Nevada Film Office also provides a PDF with some basic production safety guidelines, but advises that if the production is part of a larger company (HBO and Netflix are given as examples), and is operating under a film permit, then following the company’s established production guidelines is the best practice for Nevada production.
New Jersey is open for filming, and doesn’t have particular production guidelines beyond appropriate state and local work protocols: “Social distancing, sanitizing of equipment, use of masks and gloves to the fullest degree possible, and limiting the amount of cast and crew members on the set to only those required. Anyone who can work remotely without coming into contact with other cast and crew members should do so.”
The New Jersey Film Office also reminds production companies that they must, obtain any required municipal or county permits, depending on where they will be filming.
New York has released its state production guidelines for COVID-19 filming here.
New York State is in Phase 2 of reopening, which allows some film and production to resume, as well as set construction. The state is opening on a county- and industry-specific basis. Visit the film office page of the Empire State Development office for updated information.
The state has developed a unique lookup system to help you find out if film production is allowed in the particular New York county in which you’re looking to shoot. Also provided are business safety plan templates, which all New York businesses are required to keep on premises for possible inspection by state health officials.
New York City has begun offering permits for production beginning July 1 or later. The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment offers updated NYC film production guidelines here.
No film-specific provisions as of yet, but the state is in Phase 2 of its state-wide reopening plan, with hopes to move to Phase 3 by late June.
Per the film office, the Governor and the state’s Department of Health and Human Services will likely review and endorse the industry white paper.
Oklahoma’s Film and Music Office is moving in lockstep with a statewide phased reopening plan, setting up a page to specifically address reopening Oklahoma production here. A more detailed guide from the film office entitled Filming During COVID-19: Considerations for Oklahoma Filmmaking is available as a PDF download, and addresses special policies and procedures to reduce risk by department, including: Art Department, Craft Services, Hair & Makeup, Casting, Location Scouting and Transpo… it even addresses considerations for minors.
Re-opened for production on May 11, 2020, the Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA) has posted its protocols for safe production in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak on its website. The state production guidelines were developed with the input of crew workers, actors, production companies, OMPA, Oregon Film and the Portland Film Office; they incorporate the industry white paper as a starting point. All Oregon productions are asked to have a written Health & Safety Plan that lays out specific procedures for adhering to the Oregon protocols and keeping crew and cast safe. The Oregon Protocols expressly do not override any “union, guild, government agency or local jurisdiction guidelines, or guidelines and regulations from insurance companies, production companies and studios & networks.”
Open for production, but no statewide guidelines in place or planned.
Per the film office, any restrictions or provisions are being decided at the local level, so production is encouraged to connect with local government officials for permitting and information.
The Lone Star State opened for production as of June 3, 2020, provided productions can comply with state-recommended safety guidelines.
You can download a PDF of Texas production guidelines here. Stay posted on the most up-to-date picture of production resources from the Texas Film Commission at the Texas Film Commission Coronavirus Advisory page.
Washington, DC (not yet)
The District of Columbia remains closed for non-essential business, which includes film production.
The best place to get production guidelines and stay on top of opening status is DC’s film permitting page.
Do you know of other states with published COVID-19 production guidelines?
We want to know about and post them, so the production community can have a complete picture of production guidelines by state in the age of COVID-19.
Please send any links or tips to email@example.com.
Please put safety first on set.
Remember, there is no shot that is worth putting the lives or health of your fellow crew members in jeopardy. Regardless of any state guidelines, let’s remember always to practice safe production procedures and incorporate common-sense safeguards against the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses.
Questions about production payroll? Start with our Entertainment Payroll 101 page.