Introduction

The legislative framework for this Protocol is made up of the applicable government measures and advice from the National Security Council, as ratified by various ministerial decrees. This version is based on the situation as of June 8, 2020. It has been reviewed by the GEES (Exit strategy experts’ group) and will be updated as new measures take effect or existing measures are relaxed.

This sector-specific guide complements the generic guide against the spread of the coronavirus developed by the High Council for Prevention and Protection at Work: https://werk.belgie.be/sites/default/files/content/news/Generiekegids_light.pdf.

It forms a sector-specific application for the audiovisual production sector of the basic principles of the generic guide referred to above and aims to minimise the risk of Covid-19 contamination in audiovisual productions.

The guide focuses on the development, pre-production, production and post-production of audiovisual productions in a broad sense.

Because every audiovisual production is different, it is up to the parties involved (those responsible for production as well as financiers) to determine, per project, how this guide can best be translated into COVID-19 guidelines for the production in question (shooting/recording in the studio, on location(s), etc.) and, taking into account all necessary precautions, to determine whether an audiovisual production can proceed at any given time.

Declaration of Honour

Anyone wishing to participate in a production (‘X’) must sign a declaration of honour in which the following statements are included:

  • X will strictly comply with all government-imposed measures against the spread of the COVID-19 virus (including in the private sphere);
  • X has not had any Covid-19 symptoms in the past 14 days (cough, fever, sore throat, loss of sense of taste, difficulty breathing);
  • X will immediately inform the person responsible for the production if, after signing the declaration of honour, he/she displays one (or more) symptom(s) of COVID-19; and
  • X is aware of the COVID-19 guidelines attached to this statement, expressly acknowledges the importance of compliance with each of these rules to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 during production and ensures that he/she will comply at all times.

The COVID-19 guidelines will be communicated in advance and must be signed for acknowledgement by each employee of the production by means of the declaration of honour.

General Guidelines

These guidelines apply to everyone who participates in a production, in addition to specific guidelines that apply per technical department.

  • The production manager designates a person from the production staff whose job it will be to closely follow the compliance with the COVID-19 guidelines for the production on the set. This person is in charge of preventing risks and checking the proper application of the imposed measures and managing the related logistics. This person should also verify that all agreements and actions described in this sector-specific guide are respected, as well as collecting and reviewing all documentation related to the management of professional risk prevention. This person is also the first point of contact for any questions and/or reports and collects all information.

Risk Limitation

  • Anyone who is sick or has any of the COVID symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat, loss of taste or difficulty breathing) must stay at home and immediately notify his employer/client. If you have symptoms, consult a doctor and have them tested if necessary.
  • Anyone who shows symptoms in the course of a day of shooting/recording must also go home and consult a doctor.
  • If someone in your immediate environment (cohabitating) is infected but you do not have any symptoms yourself, consult a doctor to determine whether and how long you should be quarantined at home or if you can continue working.
  • It is, of course, recommended that production employees regularly check their temperature.

Social Distancing

  • All production workers must respect the 1.5m distance rule. NO physical contact when greeting: no handshakes, no hugs and no kisses. Actors must apply social distancing on set (during shoots/recordings) to the extent possible.
  • A site plan must be made of the site that clearly shows who should be present at which location. This must be communicated in advance so that everyone knows clearly which zones they can/cannot enter. The zones must be clearly indicated on the site itself. If possible, use markings, ribbons, or physical barriers to demarcate zones or places, or mark on the ground how much distance to keep.
  • The number of people present per location must be kept to a minimum. For each location/zone on the site consideration must be given to who needs to be present. If possible, extra monitors should be provided so that the set can be viewed remotely, in order to limit the number of people per location. Provide the necessary space per person at indoor locations (i.e. standard 4 m2 for seated activities and 10 m2 for moving activities) in order to be able to respect the necessary social distancing and ensure adequate ventilation (cf. also the guideline on ventilation).
  • Everyone must stay within the location(s) designated for him or her. No mixing between departments unless necessary.
  • Do not touch anything, except for your own/personal items, do not leave any items behind or move anything, even if you are simply trying to be helpful.
  • If it is not possible to keep 1.5m distance between the different people’s working areas: preferably use collective protective equipment such as screens or walls to compartmentalise working areas, and/or organisational measures, e.g. staggering working hours and breaks, flexible hours, shift work, adjustment of order of activities, ... If not, appropriate individual protective equipment (face masks) should be used.
  • Markings must be placed in catering areas so that it is clear that you are 1.5m apart. Where necessary, meals should be served in shifts or at different locations to limit the number of people per location. The dining area (including tables) must be is disinfected after each shift.
  • Avoid using lifts (elevators). If that is not possible, limit the number of people using the lift at the same time (e.g. allow only 1 person in a smaller lift), keep your distance and stand back to back. Provide one-way traffic or priority rules on narrow stairs or other passageways where people cannot keep a sufficient distance when passing each other (e.g. priority for those coming down).
  • Try to avoid contact by using walkie-talkies, online chat or telephone during working hours (to avoid walking in and out of production offices). Use personalised equipment (own walkie-talkie, own phone).
  • All employees are requested to do as much preparatory work as possible from home (production, props, clothing, technical preparations, etc.)
  • External parties may not be allowed on set (set visits, press, investors, etc.). If desired, monitoring and streaming can be provided remotely. Actors and technicians present each day must be listed in the call sheets. The production manager must keep an attendance list of the extras present.

Hygiene Measures

  • Respect the hygiene rules:
    • Wash/disinfect your hands regularly and in any case on arrival at the set, before leaving the set, after blowing your nose, after traveling by public transport, before eating and after using the sanitary facilities.
    • Cough or sneeze into a tissue. Use a new tissue each time and dispose of it in a sealable trash can (pedal bin).
    • If you don't have a tissue handy? Cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow.
    • Do not touch your face with your hands. This will prevent you from getting infected.
  • Each employee must have a personalised prevention package containing a face mask, hand gel (min 80% alcohol), a personal drinking bottle/coffee cup. The idea is that you only use this one and that you wash it (if reusable) yourself at home.
  • Each external supplier must provide this prevention package for his/her employees. A list of reliable points of sale will be made available.
  • Anyone who is not on camera must wear a face mask. For information on how to wear face masks correctly: See http://www.info-coronavirus.be/nl/mondmasker.
  • If you use the toilet, disinfect the door handle when leaving the restroom. Disinfect your hands with disinfectant gel (preferably provide no-touch dispensers, rub gel on hands but do not dry) or wash with soap and water and then dry with paper towels.
  • Leave doors open as much as possible - taking into account the fire safety regulations - and avoid grasping the handle with your hands (e.g. open with an elbow). The same applies to the banister, lift buttons, light switches, handles of cabinets and drawers, taps of washbasins, control knobs of appliances and machines, etc. Use disinfectant wipes if you cannot avoid this.
  • Provide adequate ventilation everywhere. Provide adequate and regular ventilation of the work areas and social facilities, either through natural or mechanical ventilation:
    • ensure proper maintenance of ventilation and/or ventilation systems, check whether additional measures are required for systems with air circulation;
    • do not use individual fans (which can spread the virus);
    • in the case of mechanical ventilation, the 'air recirculation' function must not be on.
  • Be alert for contamination during deliveries: always wash/disinfect your hands after receiving deliveries.

Disinfecting work areas and equipment

  • Work areas must be disinfected on a regular basis (minimum daily).
  • Surfaces must be disinfected with one of the following disinfectants (to which no other cleaning agents are added):
    • Liquid Alcohol (min.) 70% ;
    • Chlorine bleach solution containing at least 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (1000 ppm). Concretely: if you use 40 ml of javel (bleach) to 1 litre of tap water, you will remain above the required 1000ppm for almost every type of bleach. However, it is still advisable to always check the sodium hypochlorite content of the chlorine bleach on the packaging label. Caution, if you use this indoors, dangerous vapours can be released;
    • Hydrogen peroxide 0,5%; or
    • Dettol Medical 5%
      Dirt can reduce the effect of disinfectants: always clean dirty surfaces with soap and water first and let them dry before disinfecting. (source:https://www.apb.be)
  • Equipment on set should be disinfected preferably with 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes or other disposable wipes with an alcohol content of at least 70%.
  • Provide sufficient disinfecting kits for surfaces and equipment.
  • The cleaning team must wear protective clothing.

Transport

  • The generally applicable principle is that all professional trips are allowed. You can freely choose your means of transport as long as the physical distance of 1.5 is respected. If necessary, personal masks should be worn during commutes.
  • Whenever possible, use your own transport to get to the workplace. Those who do not come alone by car must respect a minimum distance of 1.5 meters between each person during transport. The number of people that can be transported therefore varies depending on the type of vehicle.
  • Those coming by public transport (train, tram, bus) must wear a mask and follow the instructions of the transport companies.
  • Employees/freelancers who come by car/available public transport from abroad (from a country with which the borders to Belgium are open) must be in possession of an identity document and/or passport and an employer certificate or a company document (for example proof of self-employed status).
  • Drivers of production cars must not change cars and must disinfect their steering wheel, the surrounding area and the gear lever after every drive. Production vehicles intended for passenger transport must be equipped with a transparent (plastic) film between the front and rear seats (taking into account visibility and safety). The default should be a maximum of 1 passenger, unless there are several people from the same household and/or several back seats where separation can be provided by means of transparent (plastic) film.

What if an employee gets sick on set?

Specific Guidelines

In addition to the general guidelines that apply to all employees of a production, separate agreements can be made with the various departments, depending on the specific characteristics of the production.

Working on the set

  • Everyone uses only their own equipment or the production manager must provide personalised equipment.
  • Each department must disinfect their own equipment at the end of the shooting day.
  • The set and surrounding work areas must be disinfected daily.
  • We must strive for a well-thought-out division of labour on the set. Everyone must strictly adhere to his/her role and we must avoid helping each other, no matter how well-intentioned, because this can result in additional and unnecessary contact.
  • The idea is to remain in your designated work area as much as possible and to avoid non-essential contacts with other departments.
  • When shooting outdoors, take measures to avoid gatherings, making sure that it is clearly indicated (setting off) where the 1.5-meter boundary is.

Technical crew

  • External suppliers may only work with their own equipment (if not feasible, personalise equipment or, failing this, appropriate protective equipment must be used) and are responsible for the daily disinfecting of their equipment.
  • Everyone uses personalised equipment (e.g. computer, keyboard, mouse, ballpoint pen, ...) that is disinfected before it is used by someone else.
  • The presence of technical crew on the set must be kept to a minimum. Preparations should be made as much as possible at home or in another room.
  • Provide extra monitors or use of an app (e.g. Viewtake) so that the recordings can be followed in another room in order to limit the number of people on the set.
  • Crew who come close to the hosts/actors must wear protective clothing (not relevant as long as social distancing applies).
  • Where it is not possible to keep a 1.5m distance: install a protective plate (e.g. in a production unit) and/or wear protective clothing (e.g. wear gloves when camera lenses have to be handled by different people).

Technical equipment

  • Must be disinfected daily. External suppliers must disinfect their equipment themselves.
  • Headphones and walkie-talkies are personal and cannot be shared.
  • Provide personalised microphones and clips for main cast.
  • Make agreements with external equipment suppliers on how their material is handled and stored between shooting days.

Catering

  • The production management must provide enough space to respect the 1.5m rule. If necessary: shifts/additional spaces.
  • There should be no catering table with refreshments available throughout the day in order to avoid this becoming a gathering place.
  • Meals (incl. snacks) and drinks must be consumed in individual portions.
  • Everyone must use their own or personalised drinking bottles or disposable bottles for hot and cold drinks.

Cast

  • Loges or dressing rooms should preferably not be shared.
  • All clothing should be ready in every loge so that there is no need for styling.
  • The rule concerning closer contacts in the extended personal bubble (the number of people as defined by the Security Council, but at any given time a minimum of 10 people) in addition to family members will apply to the cast members who shoot scenes with other cast members where the 1.5m cannot be respected. The cast must therefore make a commitment to having little to no other contacts outside of this expanded bubble, so that the workplace remains safe. During rehearsals, for scenes where the 1.5m cannot be respected, a face mask must be worn to minimise the number of unprotected contacts at less than 1.5m.
  • The production management must create a schedule for each cast member in order to ensure that the expanded personal bubble is not exceeded.
  • The cast should wear face masks, except when in make-up and on set.

Art Department

  • Props must be prepared at home as much as possible. Purchases made online must be thoroughly disinfected.
  • Props must be immediately disinfected by props manager or the set dresser after use.
  • If possible, separate props should be provided per person (actor).
  • The props manager and set dresser must wear gloves.
  • If desired, the cleaning of the set can be done by the art department.

Make-up & Hairdresser

  • Use of make-up and hairdresser must be kept to a minimum (no make-up for extras).
  • Main cast will receive a personalised make-up kit.
  • For the rest of the cast, disposable material must be used.
  • Make-up artists and hairdressers must be kept to a strict minimum and wear protective clothing (gloves, splash guard, face mask).
  • Make-up artists and hairdressers must take appropriate hygiene measures to disinfect their hands, the tools used and their workstation between each cast member.
  • Keep conversations to a minimum during the make-up session.
  • The make-up/hairdressing room must be arranged in such a way that there is at least 1.5m between the work areas

Styling

  • Preparations should be done at home as much as possible.
    When items need to be handed over, everything should be hung up in advance and the 1.5m rule must be respected.
  • Keep the number of people to a minimum, taking into account the size of your room.
  • Clothing must be cleaned after use, before being worn by another person.
  • Disinfect your own equipment daily.

Production / Production Office

  • Provide at least 1.5m between each workstation. The distance must be marked.
  • If this distance cannot be respected, a protective wall must be installed.
  • Only use personalised material (computer, keyboard, mouse, fixed workstations).
  • Use digital documents as much as possible (scripts, contracts, call sheets). If this is not possible, everyone must have a personal copy.
  • Disinfect your own equipment daily (incl. mobile phone).
  • Spread out call hours as much as possible in order to avoid too many people at once.

Postproduction

  • If it is possible to edit at home, this must be done at home or at a post-production company as long as the social distancing and necessary hygiene measures can be respected there.
  • If it is not possible to edit at home: provide at least 1.5m between editor and director. The distance should be marked.
  • If this distance cannot be respected, a protective wall must be installed.
  • Only use personalised material (computer, keyboard, mouse, fixed workstation).
  • Editing stations and hardware must be disinfected daily.

Schedule

  • Spread out call hours as much as possible.
  • Keep recces (scouting visits) to a minimum and respect the general guidelines and transport guidelines.

Casting

  • Casting should be done as much as possible via video conferencing or video auditions.
  • If this is not possible, the contact surfaces in the casting room and equipment must be disinfected between auditions.

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Film Production Protocol (JC 303.01) version 30 07 2020