WHAT'S NEW - New COVID-19 Guidance for Productions

New COVID-19 Guidance for Productions

by Vandana Thanki

Major broadcasters such as ITV, BBC, Sky, Channel 4, Channel 5, STV, ITN and the Association for Commercial Broadcasters and On-Demand Services (COBA) and Pact have decided to collaborate together to introduce a new industry wide guideline for producing television safely in the pandemic.

The guidance has been produced by industry experts alongside external experts such as Dr Paul Litchfield CBE and First Option. The guidance will give productions a framework of how to stay safe on set and how to adapt to the new challenges posed by COVID-19.

The guidance covers six areas, that producers must consider when planning to resume work during COVID-19. These are:

  • Consider cast and crew at higher risk of harm
  • Heighten precautions for everyone at work
  • Reduce the number of cast and crew involved
  • Consider editorial 'on camera' requirement
  • Consider mental health and wellbeing
  • Feedback


  • Try to minimise travel and follow social distancing rules with travel arrangements.


  • Consider the physical capacity of the space, this includes social distancing requirements and hygiene facilities.

Work Activities

  • Consider the activities crew members will be doing on production across roles to reduce the risk of being infected.

Work Equipment

  • Good hygiene and managing issues with touch points should be addressed.

Work Patterns

  • Work patterns help create small groups of people who don't come into contact with other groups.

Rest Areas:

  • Rest areas are very important but may need to be updated and planned around work breaks to ensure safety.

First Aid:

First Aid and Emergency services: Emergency services are under pressure and may not be able to respond as quickly due to the coronavirus. The virus can also be a risk to first aiders.

 Masks, Gloves and Other Personal Protective Equipment: Use of PPE is very much a last resort and should only be considered when all other forms of control have been considered and/or implemented. It would not in general be appropriate to source medical grade PPE. The very limited exceptions to this might be when filming in higher Covid-19 risk settings such as hospitals which would only be at the invitation of the relevant hospital authorities.

Mental Health: The Covid-19 risk and the response has had a potential Mental Health impact for those working on productions.