Several British Columbia film and television productions have been suspended amid the COVID-19 testing crisis


Work on nearly a dozen film and television productions in British Columbia has been halted due to a lack of COVID-19 testing capacity in the province.“The biggest series and things like the one from US studios were affected by the fact that they couldn’t get the test results back,” said Ron French, president of Unity Pictures.

According to Variety, the blocked productions include big-name TV titles like Riverdale, Batwoman, Flash and Super Girl.

It’s a major problem for one of British Columbia’s big industries, which is only picking up speed, after being shut down in the spring due to the pandemic.

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British Columbia-based production manager Ian Burkett told Global News there are up to 70 major productions underway in the province.

But as more than an estimated 24,000 people who work in the industry are returning to work, he gave the test system a test of its own.

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“When we were up and running and testing on a weekly basis, and more frequently for casting, we didn’t have any delays. In some cases, we got results within 24 hours, ”Burkett said.

British Columbia’s film industry hopes to bounce back after coronavirus shutdown

British Columbia’s film industry hopes to bounce back after coronavirus shutdown

“But as more and more shows have started… it puts a strain on the ability to test. If you cannot retrieve the test results, in many cases the only option is to temporarily suspend production. “

The main snag is with LifeLabs, a private company that contracts big with provincial health officials.

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The company has since embarked on a recruitment frenzy and says it should clear the backlog soon.

READ MORE: Hollywood North workers outside of Canada to be quarantined for 14 days upon return to British Columbia

“We are making additional investments to expand our testing capability and plan to return to our standard turnaround times by the end of the week,” the company said in a statement.

Kendrie Upton, Managing Director of the Directors Guild of BC, said Creative BC and the BC Film Commission are in close contact with the company.

But she said the delay in filming, while unfortunate for the industry, is itself a sign the public system is working.

“When capacity became an issue, productions were put on hold… public testing is obviously a top priority and any industry that tests with people without a system does so after people who show signs of illness,” a- she declared.

British Columbia film production resumed in July under government Phase 3 guidelines.

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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