File photo: CGTN
Film and TV cameras can start rolling in California as soon as June 12, state officials said on Friday as they approved new guidelines to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus on sets.
Film and television productions in the Golden State have been shuttered since mid-March.
A task force of Hollywood studios and labor unions, including representatives from Walt Disney Co, Netflix Inc, AT&T Inc's Warner Bros and Comcast Corp's NBCUniversal, as well as unions such as SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and the Directors Guild of America earlier this week proposed extensive coronavirus testing, daily symptom checks and other safeguards to allow actors and crew members to return to work.
Producers will need approval from local health officials to restart filming, according to a statement from the California Department of Health.
"To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, productions, cast, crew and other industry workers should abide by safety protocols agreed by labor and management, which may be further enhanced by county public health officers," as is said in the statement.
County authorities should consider local coronavirus infection rates, preparedness for a surge in cases, testing capability and other data before granting approval, the department added.
However it is not clear if major Hollywood studios will be able to resume operations from next week because Los Angeles county is one of the main coronavirus epicenters in California, recording about half the infections and deaths in the state.
To date, more than 125,000 cases and 4,500 deaths have been confirmed in California.