UK Screen Alliance, after consultation with its members has decided that its specific Covid-19 guidance for post production & VFX, which now goes above and beyond the recommendations issued by the UK government and the devolved administrations, is no longer necessary and has been withdrawn. VFX and post production companies, employees, contractors and clients should continue to follow the overarching government guidance applicable to their part of the UK.
In June 2020, UK Screen Alliance, in consultation with companies from the post and VFX sectors and industry bodies BFI, BFC, Pact and BECTU, published “Guidance for Safe Working in VFX and Post-Production during the Pandemic”, which has provided a framework for companies as they transitioned back to on-premises working with client attendance.
The substantial risk to health at the beginning of the pandemic has receded due to high levels of vaccination, antibodies from previous infection and weaker variants. Since January 2022, levels of staff absence in post & VFX relating to Covid-19 have noticeably reduced.
The UK Government has removed all remaining legal restrictions relating to Covid-19 in England. Legal restrictions in Northern Ireland had already been removed, although they remain in Scotland and Wales, but these are likely to be phased out in the coming weeks. Increasingly, the emphasis is on personal responsibility to follow recommendations rather than being constrained by law. In areas where you are no longer mandated to self isolate, it is still strongly recommended that you do not attend the workplace if you have symptoms of Covid-19. In this respect the protocols have not changed. UK Screen Alliance advises that companies should retain hand sanitising stations, keep up a rigorous cleaning regime, and ensure good ventilation. There is no need to dismantle screens if you have them in areas such as receptions and continue to recommend wearing face coverings in confined spaces with people you do not normally meet. It is still mandatory to consider Covid-19 specifically within a company’s risk assessment.
The various Covid guidance documents developed for filming by the British Film Commission (BFC), the UK broadcasters and Pact will remain in place, as they are a condition of the Production Restart insurance scheme. The potential for disruption is greater for filming, where the absence of key cast or crew on set can result in delays costing hundreds of thousands of pounds per day. In post or VFX, the continuity of work is less dependent on specific individuals, who are often able to work from home if they need to isolate.
Throughout the pandemic, post and VFX companies have continued to work and our Guidance helped them navigate the risks to health and business continuity. We never thought in 2020 that we would need it for so long, but we always said we would withdraw it at the earliest opportunity. That time has now come and as long as everyone exercises personal responsibility as advised by government, we can all work safely in a manner that is close to normal.Neil Hatton, UK Screen Alliance