In response to the spread of new Covid variants, industry professionals will once again have to self-isolate for ten days when entering the UK.
Whilst at one end of the British film industry, cinemas might feel that the government has done little to support them through the pandemic, it’s pretty clear that at the other, lots has been done to keep the cameras rolling on big productions. The government is keenly aware of the huge sums of cash that productions like The Batman or the next Mission: Impossible film bring into the UK and as such, has tried to help ease the processes of production, allowing these films to continue being made.
However, one aspect of that has changed as of 4am this morning, with any film professional entering the UK now being required to quarantine for ten days upon arrival.
Previously, members of ‘high-end’ television and film productions were exempt from quarantine regulations, a choice made by the government to keep these hugely profitable sectors in full flow. However, with several new Covid-19 variants emerging overseas, that policy has now been reversed and all film industry workers entering the UK will have to self-isolate.
This decision brings the UK into line with other countries such as Australia, where Matt Damon notably arrived yesterday to begin his period of quarantine ahead of appearing in the currently-shooting Thor: Blood & Thunder. Whilst the UK government’s decision may cause a few more logistical headaches for productions, if it’s a choice that could ultimately save lives, then we imagine there will be few arguments.
That said, the short notice given in advance of the change will no doubt cause problems for some productions in the short term.
Screen Daily spoke to UK director Joe Stephenson about his untitled psychedelics documentary which is about to shoot, and how the sudden rule-change has affected his production. Says Stephenson, “we’ve had to get them into London sooner and move the shoot two days later so there’s space for them to have their five days isolation,” said Stephenson. “That’s cost us money in having to get new flights and tests. On top of that there are availability issues, so we’re having to compress the shoot”.
“It’s absolutely chaotic,” he said of the timing of the change. “I’m not opposed to these restrictions; I don’t know why they weren’t put in place when we went back into lockdown. It’s the last-minute nature of it, and that it’s announced on a Friday night when you can’t do anything for two days.”
Clearly then, there will be a lot of productions scrambling to make changes, which will presumably cost them more.
Whether Covid insurance packages cover these types of losses would presumably depend on the individual production, but invariably, it’s the smaller UK productions who will feel this the most. More news on this as we have it.
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