As Los Angeles Area Hospitals Reach ‘Breaking Point,’ Hollywood Asked To Halt Production

As several major media outlets report that Los Angeles area hospitals have reached the “breaking point,” local officials have asked the entertainment industry to voluntarily halt production in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus.

CBS2 reports that the L.A. County Department of Public Health emailed show biz insiders on Christmas Eve requesting they “strongly consider pausing work for a few weeks during this catastrophic surge in COVID cases.”

“Identify and delay higher risk activities, and focus on lower-risk work for now, if at all possible,” the email continued.

The request comes as overwhelmed hospitals in the Southern California region have reportedly had to turn away ambulances while the current intensive care unit capacity remains at 0%. A recent L.A. Times report said: “Some patients, including the very sick who required intensive oxygen, experienced wait times as long as 18 hours to get into the intensive care unit” at L.A. County-USC Medical Center.

The pandemic has hit the film industry hard as movie theaters around the world have been forced to shut down. As L.A.’s CBS News affiliate reported, “Statewide film and TV production was ordered to shutter on March 20 and was not allowed to resume until mid-June.”

FilmLA, the nonprofit that coordinates permits for several jurisdictions throughout Greater L.A., told CBS it received more than 3,550 applications from June to November.

Ironically, a shuttered hospital that briefly reopened in the spring to help treat an expected surge of COVID-19 cases was recently the site of a full-scale production.

As The Daily Wire previously reported, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a billionaire who owns The Los Angeles Times, purchased the property in April to reportedly “create a coronavirus research facility” that would “attract doctors and experts on the virus” and “relieve pressure on other hospitals.” Last month, it was announced that Soon-Shiong hired a brokerage firm to lease and reposition the 674,000 square-foot, five-building medical complex.

In September, movie studios and labor unions agreed to implement coronavirus protocols for productions that included mandatory testing, personal protective equipment guidelines, and quarantine pay.

As CBS2 reported at the time:

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the major studios, reached the deal with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Directors Guild of America, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Hollywood Basic Crafts.

The agreement creates a zone system regarding work areas on sets and production offices.

Under the deal, actors and those they come in close contact with must be tested at least three times per week. Those working on sets, but not when performers are present, must be tested at least once per week. Workers in production areas other than the set, such as the production office, must be tested at a minimum of once every two weeks.

Remote workers associated with the production, but not working in the production environment will be tested prior to their first day of employment.

Related: Los Angeles Surge Hospital That Treated COVID-19 Patients Now Appears To Be Site Of Full-Scale Hollywood Production

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