Nearly 10 months after the coronavirus pandemic's onset in the United States prompted the shutdown of all Hollywood production, Los Angeles is pausing filming again as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Los Angeles County. Despite film and TV production's exemption from the stay-at-home order issued in the area in December, Deadline reported Monday that Netflix is the latest studio to halt productions for weeks on end over safety concerns.
The streaming giant's L.A.-based productions, slated to begin filming this week, have been pushed back until at least mid-January, according to Deadline, including Family Reunion, a number of unscripted shows and additional photography for Netflix movies. Last month, the streamer pushed back a start date on The Gray Man, starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans, until at least the end of January, but Ava DuVernay’s limited series Colin in Black & White and limited series True Story, starring Kevin Hart and Wesley Snipes appear to be on track for now, having been initially slated to begin production later this month.
Also extending their production hiatuses are CBS Studios, Warner Bros. TV, Universal TV, Sony Pictures TV, Lionsgate TV and Disney TV Studios’ ABC Signature and 20th Television, according to Deadline, and in-person production on talk shows like The Late Late Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live! returned to remote filming at the start of the week. The Ellen DeGeneres Show, meanwhile, announced it had extended its hiatus by a week.
Last week, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health urged Hollywood to consider a production pause amid the spike in cases, and SAG-AFTRA and the Producers Guild jumped on board, recommending Southern California on-set commercial production be temporarily shut down immediately to combat the surge.
"Southern California hospitals are facing a crisis the likes of which we have never seen before," said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris in a statement Sunday. "Patients are dying in ambulances waiting for treatment because hospital emergency rooms are overwhelmed. This is not a safe environment for in-person production right now."
The Los Angeles County Health Department measures the current 7-day average of daily cases at 15,000, projecting that as many as 9,000 people a day could be hospitalized in two weeks with a death toll of 1,000 or more. The county's ICU capacity is already at 0%, and the regional stay-at-home order for Southern California was extended last week to Jan. 16. Nearly half of L.A. County's 800,000-plus coronavirus cases were reported in the last month, and community transmission has made it so that 21% of all COVID-19 tests are coming back positive, according to the health department.