Friday, May 22, 2020

Coronavirus: Cape Town partially reopens the city's film permit office, only accepting and processing applications online amidst Covid-19.

by Thinus Ferreira

Cape Town has partially reopened the city's film permit office after it was completely shut down amidst the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in South Africa and will now process applications again.

Walk-in applications at the Cape Town Civic Centre are not be allowed and applications for film permits can only be done online.

Dan Plato, Cape Town executive mayor, in a statement says that the gradual reopening of Cape Town'sfilm industry will result in some economic relief for the city's local economy.

"This is an important industry because not only does it provide entertainment, it is a great financial contributor to the local economy, with an estimated R3.5 billion ($198 million) a year and employs thousands of people, creating job opportunities for our local Cape Town communities."

"Ensuring the safe, regulated return to the film work of this industry will act as a catalyst for the return to work of the broad range of service providers that support this industry."

Cape Town's film permit office has developed standard operating procedures (SOP) which require that productions and production companies screen all staff - whether cast, crew or other workers - daily and keep a record.

Covid-19 awareness and information notices must be displayed around the workspaces and every employee should receive a copy. No more than 50 people are allowed on a set. Production sets should be regularly sanitised and equipment and props should be disinfected.

Face masks and/or face shields must be provided to staff and sanitiser made up of 70% alcohol must be made available to all employees.

JP Smith, member of the mayoral committee for safety and security, says "This document was shared with members of the film industry for comment and they have agreed to abide by the strict guidelines aimed at avoiding the spread of Covid-19".

"It also outlines the basic technical measures the companies have to put in place in the workplace to contain the spread of the coronavirus and to protect their employees."

"We would like to urge all those attached to the film industry, and who will be going out to film locations, to please adhere to the protocols as well as all applicable regulations in terms of hygiene on set and observing physical distancing to ensure the safety of all those on set."

Risk assessments and a Covid-19 mitigation plan for every location needs to be conducted before a film permit is issued. Law enforcement agencies will monitor compliance safety measures and mitigation from Covid-19 from production companies.