COVID-19

What will Hollywood look like when it finally reopens?

Jasmine Garsd Apr 28, 2020
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The Walt Disney Studios in Los Angeles halted production April 8. Amy Sussman/Getty Images
COVID-19

What will Hollywood look like when it finally reopens?

Jasmine Garsd Apr 28, 2020
The Walt Disney Studios in Los Angeles halted production April 8. Amy Sussman/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

A couple of weeks ago, actress Kiki Melendez had an audition for the TV show “NCIS.” But she was told not to come in.

“I sent it to them. You know, I recorded myself and sent it to them.” Melendez hasn’t heard back yet; NCIS halted production due to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought Hollywood to a screeching halt. That’s a huge part of California’s economy. It means job losses for everyone from on-screen talent to caterers, makeup artists and camera operators, just to name a few. And even when Hollywood does restart, a lot will change. There’s talk of on-set staff getting tested regularly for the coronavirus. Studios are reportedly thinking of limiting the use of extras.

“That is horrible for the industry,” Melendez said. “I mean, when I first came here, that was how I got all my experience. That’s how I supported myself. “

Other ideas are also on the table, said Frank Patterson, president of Pinewood Atlanta Studios, where Marvel movies like “The Avengers” are filmed.

“One of the ideas that a number of the studios are working on is quarantining those teams, having them stay together or work together and travel together,” Patterson said.

He expects less filming on location — it’s just easier to control a closed studio environment than, say, the streets of New York. 

And the big question, of course, is when is this all going to happen? Some studios are hoping to start up again in July, but many say a fall reopening is more realistic.

“We don’t know when reentry will take place, but we want to be prepared,” said Colleen Bell, executive director of the California Film Commission.

She said she’s having ongoing discussions about what it will look like. Because one thing is for sure: When Hollywood finally gets back to business, it won’t be business as usual. 

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Are states ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?

Claire Hannan, executive director of the nonprofit Association of Immunization Managers, which represents state health officials, said states have been making good progress in their preparations. And we could have several vaccines pretty soon. But states still need more funding, she said. Hannan doesn’t think a lack of additional funding would hold up distribution initially, but it could cause problems down the road. “It’s really worrisome that Congress may not pass funding or that there’s information circulating saying that states don’t need additional funding,” she said.

How is the service industry dealing with the return of coronavirus restrictions?

Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, which kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic’s early stages, the outlook is bleak for places like restaurants. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, only got one week of indoor dining back before cases rose and restrictions went back into effect. Restaurant owners are revamping their business models in an effort to survive while waiting to see if they’ll be able to get more aid.

How are hospitals handling the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases?

As the pandemic surges and more medical professionals themselves are coming down with COVID, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals in the country report having a critical shortage of staff, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the knock-on effects of staff shortages is that people who have other medical needs are being asked to wait.

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