Film Production not affected by new COVID restrictions

Cinespace Chicago Film Studios

In an announcement yesterday, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) launched a new citywide strategy – “Protect Chicago” – an effort to help Chicago bend the COVID-19 curve for the second time. 

“Chicago has reached a critical point in the second surge of COVID-19, demanding that we undertake this multi-faceted and comprehensive effort to stop the virus in its tracks,” said Mayor Lightfoot.

Residents are strongly advised to adhere to the Advisory by following these guidelines, which will go into effect on Monday, November 16, 2020, at 6:00 a.m.: 

  • Only leave home to go to work or school, or for essential needs such as seeking medical care, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, picking up take-out food, or receiving deliveries. If you do leave home, practice social distancing by staying 6 feet away from others and wearing a face covering at all times.
  • Do not have gatherings in your home with anybody outside of your household (except for essential staff such as home health care workers or educators), even with trusted family or friends.•
  • Avoid all non-essential, out-of-state travel; if travel is essential, quarantining or testing negative prior to travel is required, depending on which state a traveler is originating from.  
  • Comply with City and State Orders, including wearing face coverings, limiting gatherings, and mandating early closure of non-essential businesses at 11 p.m.
  • Practice social distancing and avoid touching surfaces frequently touched by others if you go outside to get fresh air.• Use remote modes of communication like phone or video chat instead of visiting friends or family, especially on holidays such as Thanksgiving.

In addition to the “Protect Chicago” Stay-at-Home Advisory, the City is imposing new restrictions to limit meetings and social events to 10 individuals (both indoors and outdoors), which will also go into effect on Monday, November 16, 2020, at 6:00 a.m. 

This capacity limit applies to events such as weddings, birthday parties, business dinners/social events, and funerals, and is applicable to any venue where a meeting or social event is taking place, including meeting rooms. 

Film Production Not Affected

While many of the new regulations shut the down the city, film production will not be affected as it is now considered an essential business.

“We’re now considered an essential business,” said Alex Pissios, President of Cinespace Chicago Film Studios. “Until further notice, we’re allowed to continue business as usual. We’ve been doing everything right, beyond  safety protocols and it’s working.”

In an email sent by Kwame Amoak, Director of the Chicago Film Office:


The Mayor’s COVID-19 Recovery Task force and State of Illinois DCEO have designated Film Production as essential manufacturing and film production workers as essential workers.

These policies will be continuously evaluated. In order to assist the Film Office and the Chicago Department of Health in tracking transmission in the sector we are requiring all productions to submit test results every Friday via my email. The total number of test and the total number of positive cases. This information is vital in demonstrating that the protocols are working.

I am reaching out to the film community to stress the importance of remaining diligent and safe at all times on and off set.

The “Protect Chicago” new regulations and the Stay-at-Home Advisory will be paired with the activation of a community-based outreach strategy that aims to reach all Chicagoans, especially those who live and work in COVID-19 hotspots, which are currently on Chicago’s Northwest and Southwest Sides. 

“We are at a critical point in our ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareno. “Everybody needs to step up right now to flatten the curve, save lives and help our businesses reopen safely.” 

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