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COVID Protocol Update

COVID Protocol Update: Levelling Down In Time For Season

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COVID Protocol Update: On the 13th of September 2021, South Africa officially moved down to adjusted alert Level 2. With over 15 million vaccinations administered to date and the number of daily cases across all provinces decreasing, we seem to have seen the worst of the third wave that swept our nation earlier this year.

The news brings hope to the South African production services industry who are looking forward to a promising season. While restrictions have indeed been eased, safety protocols on set are still of the utmost importance. The Commercials Producers Association (CPA) released an updated list of safety protocols and guidelines that should be adhered to on and off set.

Some key facts to know when filming in South Africa:

GENERAL GUIDELINES:

  • South Africa has moved to Adjusted Alert Level 2 (Alert level 5 being the highest risk level)
  • The wearing of masks is mandatory at all times when in public.
  • Gatherings are permitted but should not exceed 250 people indoors and 500 people outdoors. Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50% of the venue’s capacity may be used. This includes religious services, political events and social gatherings, restaurants, bars, taverns and similar places.
  • There is currently a curfew 23H00 – 04H00 however we can film and work with a permit inside of these hours
  • Beaches, parks, rivers and national parks are currently open to the public and we can gain filming permits for these locations
  • Establishments of entertainment i.e. restaurants, bars etc are open. Nightclubs remain closed to the public
  • Sale of alcohol and on-site consumption is permitted. On-site consumption will be permitted as per licence conditions up to 22:00. Alcohol may be sold for off-site consumption from licensed retailers from Monday – Friday, between 10:00 and 18:00. Alcohol consumption remains prohibited in public spaces.
  • People who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed should isolate for 10 x days since test or exposure.
  • All South Africans over the age of 18 can now be vaccinated against Covid-19. The CPA encourages everyone working in the sector to be vaccinated to ensure safety in the workplace and on set.

TRAVELING TO SOUTH AFRICA:

  • A certified, negative PCR Covid test dated no more than 72 hours prior to departure.
  • The standard LOA (letter of invitation) required for all film industry travelers to South Africa.
  • Proof of accommodation.
  • Proof of travel insurance with cover in place for all Covid related expenses (medical expenses, quarantine, repatriation etc).

COVID PROTOCOL ON ARRIVAL

  • All passengers will be screened upon arrival in South Africa.
  • Provided you show no symptoms and have presented a negative PCR Covid test, you will be permitted to proceed.
  • Travelers showing any possible Covid symptoms will be required to go into mandatory self-isolation (at their own accommodation and expense) until they test present a negative test result or remain in quarantine for 10 x days

WEB-BASED SCREENING QUESTIONNAIRE FOR INTERNATIONAL VISITORS ENTERING SOUTH AFRICA:

  • The Department of Health has launched a pilot project for #COVID19 #screening – travelers can complete the required travel health questionnaire on their personal devices ahead of their arrival in South Africa.
  • Once completed, the traveler will receive a unique number (look-up ID) which they will present to Port Health officials at the port of entry to proceed with the screening process.
  • In the event of a positive case, the system will assist with identifying potentially exposed travelers who were in proximity to the positive case, further assisting with better contact tracing.
  • Travelers arriving into South Africa are required to download the COVID-19 Alert SA app on their mobile phones.

COVID PROTOCOL ON LOCATIONS

  • All locations will be assessed for their Covid-19 risk level
  • It is mandated that daily fogging be undertaken for interior locations before and after a film crew have been on the location
  • All crew will stay in the designated areas to prevent contamination
  • When in a location where sanitization is not possible – (for example a street) please ensure that safety protocols are enforced and limit interaction with the public.
  • When dealing with the public – social distancing and masks are mandatory.
  • Legislation requires a dedicated cleaning team on set to ensure surfaces, toilets and all working areas are regularly cleaned and sanitized.

TALENT

  • Talent will be required to wear masks at all times with the exception of during takes and when makeup is being applied
  • Where intimate / family scenes are to be filmed it is recommended that couples / families be cast and talent will be required to have a negative Covid-19 test prior to commencement of filming.
  • Where possible a separate holding area for children, child-minders, and parents will be provided
  • Child minders will not bring toys/games unless they are newly purchased or sanitized prior to use.
  • Production will ensure that PPE is available for minors

COVID PROTOCOL ON SET

  • For all shoot days regardless of size a qualified medic from a registered ambulance service is required to be present on set. (The requirement for the qualified medic to be from a registered ambulance service refers to shoots in Cape Town only)
  • For shoots over 50 pax (cast & crew) an additional Covid Compliance Officer is required on set.
  • The number of medics required per shoot will be schedule, location and job dependent and will need to be determined once the final risk assessment for each shoot has been conducted
  • The Medic/CCO will be responsible for overseeing health checks and ensuring that all safety protocols on set, and at basecamps/holding areas are adhered to
  • The Medic/CCO has final say on safety, compliance, and any issues arising due to Covid-19
  • For shoots with stunts, there will be a dedicated medic for the safety and a further Medic/CCO who will manage compliance; the Medic may not fill both positions
  • The name and contact details of the Medic/CCO on set will be clearly visible in the call sheet, on dailies and communicated to crew and talent
  • Before being allowed access to set, all personnel including crew, cast, client, and agency will be screened by the Health & Safety team where they will be required to:
  • submit to a temperature screening.
  • complete and sign a Health Questionnaire
  • read and sign the Covid-19 Crew and Cast Indemnity form
  • Anyone presenting with a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher will immediately be referred to an isolation area for further assessment; they will not be permitted to proceed to set
  • Only once personnel have been successfully screened will they be provided with a wrist band indicating that they have been cleared for work and may proceed to set.

Read the full CPA Covid Protocol on the COVID resources section of our blog post.

We look forward to welcoming clients new and old to South Africa this season, whether in person or remote shooting. Our locations are more beautiful than ever after a beautiful rainy season. Ask The First Lady of MR Film, Head of Research Eve Beukes, for some of the latest location options. Our talented film crew are ready for service not to mention our world class hospitality friends.

This COVID Protocol Update was brought to you with love from Earl, Kabelo and Eve.