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After months of shutdowns throughout the entertainment industry, California Governor Gavin Newsom has announced guidelines to resume music, film, and television production in California.  Work can begin again on June 12th, as the state transitions into Stage 3 of its coronavirus recovery plan. Stage 3 allows for the re-opening of some “higher-risk workplaces.” Concerts won’t return until stage 4 (and even then, it might not be a typical concert experience) but most recording studios “can” be back after Friday. Additionally, many of the film and television productions that paused during the pandemic seem likely to resume. However, the guidelines are purposefully vague, and several questions remain. In a statement, the California Department of Public Health said that the restart would be “subject to approval by county public health officers within the jurisdictions of operations.” So for example, filming in Los Angeles would be at the discretion of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, depending on “local epidemiological data.” These health officials are unelected, with an authority that exists in a legal gray area, and those two facts have previously caused tension. At this time, it’s unclear how the LA Department of Public Health will seek to oversee the local entertainment industry. The guidelines don’t say whether it’s permissible to film a crowd scene, or other TV or movie scenes such as combat, kissing, actors sitting in a crowded car, etc.  There may not be a clear idea of what Stage 3 looks like for a couple of weeks.

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