FilmLA, an organization which processes on-location filming permits in Los Angeles, has reported that the number of permits filed experienced a 40% increase between the months of July and August. They attributed this in part to a loosening of restrictions allowing larger groups to once again gather in public and also to directors’ and crews’ current preferences for filming outside, as it is believed to present a lesser risk of spreading COVID-19 when compared to utilizing indoor sets.
In August, a total of 1,127 permit applications were submitted for 829 different projects. While most of these were for commercials and other advertisements, a number were also for film or TV productions which were forced to pause in March and April when COVID-19 was officially declared a global pandemic. Currently, this surge has not stopped, with FilmLA currently receiving approximately 20-25 proposals per day, a higher number than ever previously recorded.
Paul Audley, the president of FilmLA, told news source Variety that a number of productions were expected to resume during the months of September and October. However, Audley was confident that these film and photography shoots would not lead to any renewed outbreaks, stating that only two of the 829 projects which had requested permits had reported instances of COVID-19 among their casts or crews.
In June, Los Angeles County issued updated rules detailing how projects were required to remain safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 should they desire to return to work. Audley firmly believes that all of the productions resuming in September and October will follow these regulations at all times.
While LA filming resumes, other popular filming locations, such as Vancouver, Canada, are not experiencing a similar surge. Audley attributed this to a desire by directors, actors and crew members to “stay close to home” and limit travel during these difficult times.