UK Screen issues new guidance following UK government’s ‘Plan B’ announcement

Update – 5th Jan 2022 – the info on the links below has been updated again.

Following tonight’s ‘Plan B’ announcement on CoViD working, my colleague at Bectu, Spencer MacDonald has had this email from Neil Hatton of UK Screen Alliance that we have agreed to share as widely as we can.

Dear Spencer,

This evening the Prime Minister has announced that the government will be enacting Plan B measures in the face of rapidly increasing cases of the Omicron variant, thought to be doubling every three days. The risk of serious illness from Omicron is as yet uncertain.

The salient Plan B measure affecting businesses in England in post production, VFX and animation is the recommendation to work from home for those who can. This will be reintroduced from Monday and will require companies to reassess their plans to return significant number of their staff to on-premises or hybrid working. This brings the work-from-home recommendation in England in line with the existing guidance in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is important to stress that this is not another lockdown of the kind we saw this time last year.

There is expected to be minimal impact on filming from the new recommendations as strict Covid protocols are in still in place in studios and on locations, which will allow productions to continue in the way that they did earlier in the year when similar restrictions were in place..

From Friday, mandatory face masks will be extended to most public venues, including theatres and cinemas. This is likely also to include live audiences in TV studios. There is no requirement for hospitality venues to close but proof of vaccination or a negative test will be required in nightclubs and venues with large crowds.

Our current guidance includes advice on post production operations which are difficult to perform from home and are better performed on-premises. We anticipate that this can continue to form the basis for assessment of whether an operation should be remote or not. It may be that some productions that are currently using on-premises facilities in post production companies should reconsider their mode of working and migrate to remote working in order to respect everybody’s personal health and safety and the business continuity of the production.

We will be updating our Covid Guidance for Post & VFX over the next few days, as we receive detail from the government and consult with other industry stakeholders. In the meantime we recommend that production companies and their post production suppliers review their risk assessments and make appropriate adjustments where necessary.

Best regards

Neil Hatton

The general UK Screen Alliance CoViD working guidance documents can be seen on their website here.

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