Disney, Film Studios Exempt From California COVID Restrictions

in Disney, Entertainment, Movies & TV

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Credit: Deadline/ABC 7/CA COVID website

The Walt Disney Company and California Governor Gavin Newsom’s office have been locked in a heated battle to reopen Disneyland Resort for months now.

mickey with statehouse
Credit: Disneyland Public Affairs

Related: CA Lawsuits Begin, Could Disneyland Be Next?

While the Governor hasn’t budged on his stringent theme park reopening guidelines, he has, apparently, just granted exemptions to COVID-19 restrictions for California’s film industry — including Walt Disney Studios, 20th Century Studios, and Pixar, which all fall under the Disney banner.

Deadline reports:

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced a limited stay-at-home order. The order requires “generally that non-essential work, movement and gatherings stop between 10 PM and 5 AM in counties in the purple tier.” That means basically every county in Southern California and 94% of the state’s population.

But Newsom’s office told Deadline on Thursday that the order (read it here) did not apply to entertainment industry workers, who are on the list of essential workers and thus an exception to the rule.

Related: No CA Counties Move Tiers, Disneyland Remains ‘High Risk’

Burbank, California, where Walt Disney Studios is headquartered, is in Los Angeles County, which has been moved back to California’s most restrictive coronavirus tier, the purple tier. As of November 16, Alameda County — where Emeryville, CA and Pixar Animation Studios can be found — was also moved into the purple tier.

disney and pixar's soul
Credit: Pixar

Deadline’s report continues with details about the new exemptions:

 …“Industrial, Commercial, Residential, and Sheltering Facilities and Services,” there is essential worker designation 15 which reads, “Workers supporting the entertainment industries, studios, and other related establishments, provided they follow covid-19 public health guidance around physical distancing.”

The guidance does indicate this exemption only applies if remote work is not possible, but with film and TV production it is often not.

Film and TV production employees were not included on the essential workers list during the first California shutdown in March. Their addition to the list speaks to the success and strong protocols on set since then.

Related: California Might Require Quarantine for Incoming Travelers

Deadline also Tweeted about the changes to California’s essential worker regulations that allow film and television crews to continue working. Social media users in the comments have mixed reactions to the news — some are happy to hear that the entertainment industry has implemented strict health and safety protocols, while others are alarmed that movie and TV series production is considered essential by the state when so many other entertainment venues (including theme parks and stage shows) have not been allowed to reopen.

What do you think about Disney and other major motion picture studios being allowed to continue working even under California’s new stay-at-home order? Do you agree with CA’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy overall?

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