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The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is requesting that TV and film productions "strongly consider" pausing for a few weeks as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the area, Deadline reports.
"Although music, TV and film productions are allowed to operate, we ask you to strongly consider pausing work for a few weeks during this catastrophic surge in Covid cases," the department said in an email, per FilmLA. "Identify and delay higher risk activities, and focus on lower-risk work for now, if at all possible."
On Monday, L.A. County reported 13,661 new cases and 73 new deaths, a slight increase from 13,580 new cases and 44 new deaths the previous day. Last week, California became the first state to surpass 2 million COVID-19 cases, less than two months after eclipsing the 1 million mark.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an overnight stay-at-home order last month for the 41 counties that fell within the purple tier, which was determined by positivity rate and the number of new cases per 100,000 people. A few days later, the order was extended to limit restaurants, bars, etc. in L.A. County to takeout, drive-thru, and delivery operations for, at least, three weeks.
Variety reports Newsom said in a press conference earlier today that he will "likely" announce the extension of the regional stay-at-home orders on Tuesday.
While L.A. County health officials commended the TV and film industries for taking the necessary steps to maintain a safe environment, there are concerns that gatherings over Christmas and New Year's will result in what former U.S. Food and Drug Administration head Dr. Scott Gottlieb forecasts as a "grim month" of January.
"Even if we start to see a plateau in cases and a decline in the first week in January, it’s really not going to be [until] toward the end of January that we start to see the burden on hospitals begin to lessen and we start to see deaths plateau," Gottlieb said on Face the Nation.