(NEW YORK) — The COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into movie and TV production all over the world.  But as productions are starting to resume in places like Los Angeles and Atlanta — with new safety measures in place — shooting in one of the virus’ hardest-hit cities, New York, has still been dark for the most part.

However, Anne del Castillo, commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, says that could change next month. 

“August is a safe bet,” she tells Deadline. “I think people will really understand the need to protect crews. To shoot in a more controlled environment to begin with…”

She adds, “We have been looking for guidance from state and city health officials,” noting, “It’s interesting … there was this big push [initially]. ‘We are going to come back.’ [But] I’ve consistently told people it will have to start small, and that has been born out.”

Del Castillo explained that a “mixed bag” of shooting permits have been issued to very small productions, commercials and the like, with film crews limited to around 10 people.  The city’s upcoming Phase 4 COVID plan will allow for larger productions, but while it doesn’t set a specific limit on the numbers of people allowed on set, the rule will be for the numbers to be 50% of what they were pre-pandemic.

Prior to the shutdown, del Castillo mentioned there were 80 shows and 300 films shooting in and around the Big Apple. Things will ramp up much more slowly this time, she allows: “No one wants to get sick no one wants to shut down so they will be pretty strict about their own guidelines when get back. They know the world is watching.”

By Stephen Iervolino
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