South Africa has placed a travel ban on the U.S., the U.K., and several other countries as the coronavirus continues to take hit on the television and film industry.
South Africa is one of the major production hubs in the TV and film industry, and is currently the production location for Sony Pictures’ Vin Diesel-led film “Bloodshot.” In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, South African producers and creatives are preparing for the possibility that projects will be placed on hold. “Our hope is that everyone will do their best to keep safe, to stop the spread of the virus, and to keep dreaming of a better time ahead,” said Michael Auret of Spier Films.
On Sunday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a “national state of disaster” as the country confirmed a new count of 62 cases. South Africa announced its precautionary plan of a travel ban on foreign countries including the U.S., the U.K., China, Italy, Germany, South Korea, Iran and Spain, Variety reports.
In addition, the country has closed schools around the nation, and the country has prohibited gatherings of more than 100 people. Variety reports the South Africans returning from high-risk countries will have to be tested and self-quarantined. “We have decided to take urgent and drastic measures to manage the disease, protect the people of our country and to reduce the impact of the virus on our society and on our economy,” Ramaphosa said. “There can be no half measures.”
Productions have followed along with the nation’s guidelines. Amazon announced it would be shutting down Love Island France, which was shooting outside of Cape Town, according to Variety. “Following the announcement by the South African president that the country is now in a ‘state of disaster,’ Amazon Studios’ production of ‘Love Island France’ will end early. The health and safety of the production team, the contestants, and all people involved is our utmost priority, so we have ended production on this season now,” said a spokesperson for ITV Studios France.
Like in the States, many workers who are now out of a job without pay are urging the nation to find a solution for lack of workers’ compensation during the crisis. “We recognize the steps already taken by the South African government to contain the spread of disease as very positive so that we can get over it as soon as possible,” he said. “But we hope that measures will also be put in place to support vulnerable workers in the film and TV industry and all vulnerable persons by suspending mortgage, rent and other bill payments for three months so that people can have disposable income to buy food and medicines they may need.” He continued: “We hope that governments will continue to take all measures to stop the spread of the virus as quickly as possible, and to support economically vulnerable people in the manner that they once did for banks and bankers.”