Quick guide to the rules in the four UK countries (click to expand)
NOTE: this is very brief synopsis of the current state of play and does not attempt to cover all of the variables. Things will change and we will post updates here as and when they do.
England - from 19 July 2021
- No limits on how many people can meet
- 1m-plus guidance removed (except in some places like hospitals and passport control when entering)
- Face coverings no longer required by law, although the government still "expects and recommends" them in crowded and enclosed spaces
- Some shops and transport operators will still require masks
Events and gatherings
- Nightclubs can reopen
- Pubs and restaurants no longer table-service only
- No limits on guests at weddings and funerals
- No limits on people attending concerts, theatres or sports events
- No restrictions on communal worship
- Guidance recommending against travel to amber list countries removed
- Under-18s and fully vaccinated adults no longer have to self-isolate after visiting amber list countries
More guidance is here.
Wales from 17 July 2021
Wales moves to Alert Level 1 on 17 July:
- Up to six people can meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation
- Organised indoor events can take place for up to 1,000 seated and up to 200 standing
- Ice rinks can reopen
- No limits on how many people can meet in public places, or at events
From 19 July, adults returning from amber-list countries no longer have to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated in the UK, and nor will under-18s travelling with them.
The government hopes to move to Alert Level 0 on 7 August. This would mean:
- All premises can open, including nightclubs, with most restrictions replaced by risk assessments
- No legal limits on the number of people who can meet indoors, including private homes
Face coverings will continue to be required in most indoor public places and on public transport for the present time.
More guidance is here.
Scotland from 19 July
- Up to eight people from up to four households can meet indoors at home
- Up to 10 people from up to four households can meet in a public indoor space
- Up to 15 people from up to 15 households can meet outdoors - whether in a private garden or public place (children aged 12 and under not counted)
- Up to 200 people can attend weddings and funerals
- Two-hour slots to go to a pub or restaurant end, but customers to provide contact details and wear face coverings when not seated
- Soft play centres can open
- Capacity at events rises to 2,000 seated outdoors, 1,000 standing and 400 indoors
- People fully-vaccinated in the UK -and under-18s travelling with them - no longer have to quarantine after visiting an amber-list country
Guidance is expected on allowing fully vaccinated people to avoid self-isolation after close contact with positive cases.
The government is also considering removing the self-isolation requirement for school pupils.
More guidance is here.
Restrictions will be eased further on 26 July, if approved at a review on 22 July.
- Fully vaccinated people and under-18s returning from amber list countries will not have to quarantine
- Theatres and other indoor seated venues will be able to reopen
- Live music indoors with no restrictions on sound levels
- 10 people from three households able to meet inside a private home
- 15 people from any number of households able to meet in a private garden
- Social distancing reduced to 1m indoors and removed for outdoor activities (although 2m distance still recommended)
More guidance is here.
Republic of Ireland
List of current public health measures in place is here.
General guidance for everyone, from the AOP (click to expand)
It’s without doubt that we are in really difficult times at the moment and we know a lot of people will be finding it a challenge to rationalise the circumstances and work out where the reality lies.
We want to say that we are keeping a close eye on the situation, as you might expect, and are doing a number of things ourselves to minimise the impact on our operations and maintain our support for you.
As you may know, we are collating useful information and guidance from trusted, verified sources and are compiling links on this page. Please use these sources in preference to anything unverified or speculative.
Looking after yourself
It’s very easy in times like these to over-compensate for the feelings of anxiety and alarm that people might feel, so we want to reassure those of you that are perhaps feeling overwhelmed and suggest a few steps you might take to create some much-needed space for yourself:
- Take a decent break from the news, particularly the health-related stuff and limit yourself to checking it less often. If you find your anxiety levels are ramped up, you may also be worried about missing something, so perhaps ask a friend, colleague or family member to let you know if there’s something important you should be aware of.
- Stay away from Google and general social media ‘advice’, and don’t rely on message boards and forums for advice as often, those places will give you a polarised or skewed view of things.
- Do some regular exercise, even for just twenty minutes, and focus your mind on something else, even if it’s something simple at home in your living room or concentrating on your breathing, you’ll find there are benefits to be had.
- Try not to seek reassurance all the time about the situation. Yes, it is quite a shift from our usual pattern of life, but it will come to an end and business as usual will return. Believe the science and rely on facts – you won’t go far wrong with that approach.
- If you do feel anxious, remember that the feeling is a normal response to extraordinary circumstance and is not permanent. It will stop and you will regain your calm and your sense of perspective.
- Use any extra spare time you might have to do things that will give you a sense of achievement, regardless of what it might be, whether it’s something as simple as re-ordering your image catalogues, weeding out your old emails or learning some new skills online.
- Keep in touch regularly with your friends, family and/or loved ones, no matter how briefly – it helps us all feel that bit more connected.
If you do think you have picked up the virus and are suffering from any of the following symptoms;
• fever or a high temperature (i.e., above 37.8° C)
• new, persistent cough
• a loss of, or change to, your sense of taste or smell
...then you should stay at home, rest, and follow the advice of Public Health England and the NHS. Remember that for most people, Coronavirus (COVID-19) will manifest as a mild infection. There are groups of people for whom things may well be more serious, and if you are in one of those groups, you may need to take more action, such as going online to https://111.nhs.uk or calling 111, which is your first step if you do need more guidance or clinical advice and are more unwell. Obviously, in an emergency, call 999.
Lots of photographers are reporting having shoots cancelled or postponed. We know how difficult it can be managing one’s self-employment, even without these extraordinary circumstances, and it may be tempting to try to carry on regardless. It’s important to remember that although for many, being ill will not be that serious, for lots of people, it may be and we all have a responsibility to protect those who may be more vulnerable and to slow down the rate of infection, so our public health services are not overwhelmed.
If clients want to postpone or cancel shoots, there may be ways of carrying on production through remote working, such as using Zoom or Skype to facilitate meetings, or by using FaceTime or WhatsApp video to allow clients or art directors to see the photography taking place and Capture Pilot (for Capture One users) or web galleries to allow clients to make selects and/or approve shots before final output.
This is a tough one – you and your clients are likely to be in the same boat for a start, so enforcing cancellation clauses should be approached with some discretion and on a case-by-case basis, dependant on how what was in your contract and terms of business, how much notice you’ve been given and what alternative arrangements have been suggested. For those of you that have access to business & legal support, please do make sure you use the services we provide as and when you need to.
Managing existing and current work
We suggest that now more than ever, you do all that you can to keep hold of your own cash – if clients want something paid for, up front, for a commission, you really need to make every effort to get your client to advance you that amount, or for them to pay for it directly. Cash-flow is more important than anything in running a business, and when there’s greater uncertainty, keep your purse or wallet closed for as long as possible. If you are discussing new work, make sure that the terms of engagement include a clause about advance payments for any expenses you may incur before you can invoice.
We will continue to provide as much solid information and support as we are able and wish you the very best.
Seamus, Yaa, Rachel, Kevin, Sam and Nick - your AOP team.
Breakdown & analysis of UK Government support for business (click to expand)
(Please be aware - this is a lengthy piece!)
UK Government support – what there is and what it means – correct at 7 May 2020
The following is a breakdown and analysis of the current level of UK Government support available. We recognise that there are still gaps and we are doing what we can to address this as a matter of urgency as we know many of you will still fall between the stools.
The contents are as follows:
1. Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
2. Filing accounts with Companies House
3. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
4. Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
5. Limited companies with sole directors
6. Deferred VAT payments
7. Self-assessment income tax
8. Universal Credit
9. Time to pay – HMRC
10. Business rate relief
NOTE: There are likely to be plenty of scams surrounding this support, so you should only access these schemes through official Gov.uk websites or webpages.
DO NOT CLICK ON LINKS IN EMAILS, TEXT MESSAGES OR HAND OVER YOUR DETAILS OVER THE PHONE.
1. SELF-EMPLOYMENT INCOME SUPPORT SCHEME (SEISS)
Similar to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Government (through HMRC) will pay self-employed people (Definition: this means sole traders and partnerships) a taxable grant worth 80% of average monthly profits over last three-years, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
The Scheme will be open to any sole trader/partnership with averaged annual profits of up to £50,000 and although the Chancellor stated this covers 95% of all self-employed people, we know that many photographers will fall through the net as they are the sole director of their limited company and are thus ineligible.
This scheme will be extended if required, past the 3-month term originally announced.
To qualify, your self-employed trading profits must be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income must come from self-employment.
This is determined by at least one of the two conditions below being satisfied:
1. Having trading profits/partnership profits in 2018/2019 of less than £50,000.
2. Having average trading profits in 2016/17 to 2018/2019 of less than £50,000.
If you started trading between 2016-2019, HMRC will only use those years for which a tax return was filed.
Only those in self-employment AND who have filed a tax return for 2019 are eligible.
If you previously failed to file on time (i.e. by 31 Jan 2020), HMRC have extended the deadline to 23 April 2020, in order to qualify for the Scheme.
You must also be trading in the financial year 2019/2020 and be trading when you apply, (or would be under normal circumstances, COVID-19 excepting).
You must have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For those who are self-employed and have other income, you can only claim if the majority of your income is from self-employment.
There is more info here and you cannot apply for this as yet (at 29 March 2020). Additionally, HMRC will contact you and invite you to apply online.
2. FILING ACCOUNTS WITH COMPANIES HOUSE
You can now apply for a 3-month extension to file your accounts at Companies House during the COVID-19 pandemic. You must make this application before the original filing deadline.
Companies House and the FRC (Financial Reporting Council) have confirmed that all companies with imminent filing deadlines – predominantly 30 June 2019 year-ends which are due for filing by 31 March 2020 – will be granted a three-month extension assuming an application is made.
If you are in the situation that your annual accounts are not yet finalised and may not get completed by the filing deadline, you must still contact Companies House. However, they are automatically accepting COVID-19 as a reason and providing a three-month extension.
You will need to tell them:
- the company number
- an e-mail address
- a statement that you are extending due to COVID-19 or Coronavirus
You can do this here.
NOTE: It is critical that the application is made before the deadline or it will be rejected.
If you have passed the filing deadline and are receiving notices concerning the overdue accounts, it is always recommended that you contact Companies House to explain the circumstances behind the delay. If COVID-19 or Coronavirus is a factor, you should let them know this. You can email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. CORONAVIRUS JOB RETENTION SCHEME
For all employees who are on a company payroll but with no work to do, the Government will pay 80% of their basic salary up to £2,500 per month. The Government will also give employers the ability to top-up the salary to 100%. All businesses are eligible for this scheme.
In order to access this scheme, businesses will need to:
1. Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify the employees of this change. Changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation.
2. Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal.
Note: You can ‘furlough’ yourself as the employee of your own limited company, but you are not allowed to undertake any work aside from any legal and regulatory duties you may have as the single company director.
The Government has pledged these measures will be in place for 3 months and be available by the end of April but will be effective from 1 March 2020.
Note: You are responsible for making contact with HMRC and instigating the furloughing of your employees – HMRC will not get in contact with you.
HMRC are now working to set up a system for reimbursement and will publish further guidance here as soon as it’s available. More info here.
4. CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME (CBILS)
To support small and medium-sized business, the Government is extending CBILS. This will be administered through the British Business Bank and is due to launch in the week commencing 23 March.
The scheme provides the lender with a Government-backed guarantee against the outstanding balance. The limit of funding has increased to £5M for companies with a turnover of less than £45 million.
The loan terms are from 3 months up to 6 years for loans and asset finance and up to 3 years for revolving facilities and invoice finance.
The Government will cover the first 12 months’ of interest payments, so businesses will benefit from lower initial repayments. The business remains liable for repayments of the capital.
To be eligible for support through CBILS, the business must:
- Be UK-based, with turnover of no more than £45M per year
- Operate within an eligible sector (a small number of sectors are not eligible for support or subject to limitations – go here for more info.
- Be unable to meet a lender’s normal lending requirements for a normal, fully-commercial loan or other facility, but would be otherwise considered viable in the longer-term
5. LIMITED COMPANIES WITH SOLE DIRECTORS (also known as Personal Service Companies)
Many of you will have your businesses set up as limited companies, of which you are the sole director (and also, technically, the sole employee). These are known as 'Personal Service Companies' (PSCs). Unfortunately, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme does not apply to you if you are in this situation. This is unacceptable and we are doing what we can to redress this, along with pressure from many other lobbying organisations, unions and pressure groups. All you can access at the moment, are the following measures:
- Business interruption loan (CBILS).
- Deferred VAT payments.
- Accounts filing extension.
- Time to pay arrangements with HMRC.
- Universal Credit.
- Rate relief (assuming you are a qualifying business).
- You can ‘furlough’ yourself, as the sole director and employee, but you are not allowed to do any work aside from directorial duties (filing accounts, company paperwork, that type of thing). You cannot be photographing, marketing, or otherwise looking for work – you are, in effect, on ‘pause’.
6. DEFERRED VAT PAYMENTS
Business VAT payments for the next quarter (20 March until 30 June 2020) will be deferred until the end of the year. This is an automatic offer – no application is required.However, if you have a Direct Debit set up with HMRC, you should probably cancel that, as otherwise HMRC may still automatically attempt to collect a payment.
7. SELF-ASSESSMENT INCOME TAX
Self-assessment income tax payers will not have to make a payment on account by 31 July 2020 and the payment will be deferred until January 2021. This is an automatic offer – no application is required, although of course, HMRC state that if you can pay, you should.
8. UNIVERSAL CREDIT
The minimum income level for UC has been removed and it has been increased by £1,000 per year. There is more detailed information on UC for the self-employed here.
9. TIME TO PAY HMRC
A dedicated helpline has been set-up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities to receive support. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke ‘Time to Pay’ arrangement.
A Time to Pay Arrangement is a debt repayment plan to HMRC for your outstanding taxes. You should have the following information to hand to help HMRC make a decision:
- Your HMRC reference number (for example, your 10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference or VAT registration number).
- The tax liability that you are finding it difficult to pay and the reasons why.
- What you have done to try to obtain the funds to settle the liability.
- Your thoughts on how much you can pay immediately and how long you may need to pay the rest. Clearly, the longer the payment period, the more chance that HMRC will challenge the application.
- HMRC may ask for evidence, such as cash-flow forecasts, monthly management accounts or copies of bank statements, showing that you will be able to pay future instalments.
- HMRC are likely to want to understand your financial position, such as your income and expenditure and your assets and liabilities.
If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19/Coronavirus, call the HMRC helpline on 0800 0159 559 or discuss the matter with your accountant.
10. RATE RELIEF
The government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.
To be eligible for this support, your business must:
- Be based in England.
- Be a business that occupies property.
- Be receiving small business rate relief or rural rate relief as of 11 March 2020.
You don’t need to do anything to access the scheme – your local authority will be in touch with you assuming you are eligible.
[AOP/ correct as at time of writing, 29 March 2020]
AOP SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Shoot/Production Guidelines vAOP-05 (webpage version - March 2021)
AOP SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Shoot/Production Guidelines
v.AOP-05 (March 2021) 9 pages
SARS-CoV-2 is the official name of the virus that causes the disease named COVID-19. The two phrases have become somewhat interchangeable and we use the generic term 'COVID' below to cover both.
These guidelines have been worked up by the Association of Photographers (AOP) and are aligned in the main with the existing APA COVID production guidelines to be more pertinent to stills photography production (including moving image). They have been developed by a cross-section of the AOP leadership, membership and insurers.
A section on testing has been added at 2.5.
A section on back-up crew provision has been added at 2.13.
Note on testing: We are aware that the latest iteration of the APA guidelines is recommending testing as an addition to the exiting safety protocols. Please be aware that at this time (March 2021), we are not advocating testing as a means to be able to relax the remainder of the safety regime for a number of reasons;
- The Lateral Flow Test (quick results) is less than 50% effective and needs to be completed with accuracy for any chance of a result to be viable.
- On the back of that, it is possible that people may subsequently perceive having a negative result as meaning they can drop other safety measures, which would be extremely inadvisable.
The purpose of these guidelines is to enable all those responsible for producing stills and moving image production to take reasonable and practical steps to safeguard the health and safety of everyone attending a shoot in relation to COVID and to meet their obligations to do so under the Health and Safety at Work Act, and Government guidelines & regulations on COVID, including The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020 (expiring 31 March 2021).
Photographers, agents and production companies have a responsibility which they can meet by following these guidelines. In addition, everyone working on the production and attending it, has their own responsibilities in respect of COVID. They too can meet those by complying with these guidelines. They will be updated regularly in response to feedback on how they work in practice, new legislation and regulation, and the potential availability of practical, accurate on-set COVID testing.
- GOVERNMENT GUIDELINES, MEDICAL INFORMATION, KEY PRINCIPLES
- AOP BEST PRACTICES
- SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 HEALTH STATEMENT (to be shown to, or read to, all shoot/production attendees)
1.1 GOVERNMENT GUIDELINES & CONTEXT
The Government says: (https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus)
- continue to work from home if you can
- wear a face-covering in certain designated spaces (full list here)
- limit close contact with other people
- keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible, but at least 1m)
- wash your hands regularly
The Government is encouraging business to return to work where safe to do so, making it clear that appropriate physical-distancing should be followed in the workplace wherever possible.
1.2 MEDICAL INFORMATION
Some medical context on SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 (also read the WHO's dedicated FAQ):
- The time between exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and the moment when symptoms of COVID-19 start is commonly around five to six days but can range from one to 14 days.
- SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted from an infected person's respiratory secretions or aerosolised droplets (coughs/sneezes) reaching the nose, eyes or mouth of another.
- The most common symptoms are fever, coughing, sneezing and shortness of breath. Less common symptoms are diarrhoea and abdominal pain.
- Some people with COVID-19 suffer or show no apparent symptoms. Asymptomatic sufferers may still be infected and there is strong scientific evidence that they can transmit the virus too.
- The virus that causes COVID-19 can also survive on a variety of surfaces for different timespans and be transmitted to another individual from contact with them.
1.3 KEY PRINCIPLES
The purpose of (so-called ‘social-’) distancing and PPE is to break the transmission cycle of the virus and reduce the risk of infection. We should operate on the basis that we could all be potential carriers, and must adhere to the safety principles to minimise risk. Therefore the following essential rules are based on current UK Government guidelines, and must be adhered to:
- Maintain 2m-distancing wherever possible, but at the very least 1m.
- Wash your hands for 20 secs with soap and warm or hot water or use hand sanitiser for at least 30 seconds regularly. Alcohol-based sanitisers should contain at least 60% alcohol.
- Cough and sneeze in the crook of the arm or into a tissue and bin immediately.
- Report COVID-19 symptoms to your employer/production manager.
- Continue to work from home wherever practicably possible.
2. AOP BEST PRACTICES
These are recommendations as to how to structure your production, over and above Government guidelines and, again, they will be constantly reviewed and updated wherever and whenever necessary.
NOTE: Both pre-production and production are likely to take longer to enable compliance as a result.
The number of people on location should be kept to a minimum. Only people who are absolutely required to be present at the shoot should attend. This refers to all production staff, cast, crew, agency and client. Furthermore, every person who will be attending the shoot - because it is necessary that they do so - shall be made aware of the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Health Statement at the end of these guidelines.
We have organised our best practices as follows:
2.2 Budget and contract
2.6 The shoot
2.7 Talent on set
2.8 Location shooting
2.9 Studio shooting
2.11 Hair and Make-up
2.12 Crewing up
2.13 Back-up crew provision
2.14 Technical crew
2.15 Hired equipment
2.18 Health and Safety
2.19 PPE and sanitisation
2.1 PRE-PRODUCTION (Including Agency & Client-side considerations)
(a) Creative concepts and briefs should ideally already bear in mind current Government level restrictions. Photographers however, are encouraged to advise agencies and advertisers as to how to set a brief which can be shot in compliance with these guidelines in order for safe production to take place.
(b) Get approval from agency/client as early as possible. Finalise as many creative decisions as possible no later than the pre-production meeting (PPM) in order to reduce last-minute changes on shoot days, and to plan for all health requirements & sanitary accommodations.
(c) Encourage early confirmation of projects to allow for additional prep time.
(d) Encourage and explain the need to the agency/client of the importance of sticking to scheduled confirmation dates.
(e) Where possible all pre-production processes should be managed remotely from home. This includes treatments, budgeting, production meetings, meetings with the agency and PPMs.
(f) Distribute the AOP guidelines to all involved in the production.
2.2 BUDGET AND CONTRACT
(a) Cost the requirements of this protocol within your quotes. Should regulations change, additional space needs to be made by agency/client to accommodate these if production incurs further costs, since insurance will not assist.
(b) Anyone attending the shoot for the agency, client and/or production company will be required to be aware of and adhere to the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 AOP Production Guidelines.
(c) The production should be planned to minimise COVID-related disruption risks so far as it is reasonably practicable to do so. In respect of the COVID-related risks to production which remain:
(i) Make provision for what happens in the event of such disruption (e.g. an agreement that key persons will be replaced if they become unavailable because of COVID)
(ii) Have an agreement with the agency/client by which the agency/client will meet such costs (according to the terms of such an agreement) because insurance will not cover COVID risks to the production.
Avoid printing and paper distribution except for clear safety posters on set.
NOTE: SARS-CoV-2 (the virus) can last 24 hours on cardboard, and longer on other surfaces. (Source: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2004973 )
(a) Casting sessions and call-backs can be done remotely via video link-ups and self-casting.
(b) When casting children, their supervising adult should remain close at hand.
NOTE: Depending on the nature of the work and circumstances, licences for child models may still be required from the local authority and is dependent on them being able to do so.
(c) Note: remote casting may prohibit rehearsal of interacting action.
(d) Those aged 70 or over, or with known pre-existing conditions should be given special consideration and enhanced measures.
(e) Consider and agree backup talent and costs where appropriate.
At this stage, we are not advocating testing for a number of reasons, but there is nothing to prevent from doing so if you wish. Carried out properly, it can be useful as an additional measure to safeguard the production.
If you do wish to test then points to note are as follows:
(a) You must obtain written consent from those you wish to test, at the point of
engagement with them (i.e., confirmation of work) and process this data on the basis
that it is sensitive personal data, in accordance with data protection law.
(b) You must only use government-approved tests and tester. A list is available here. This
is a legal requirement.
(c) You should make sure that capacity is present for testing, before confirming the
(d) Currently, there is only one type of test (the Polymerase Chain Reaction or ‘PCR’ test)
that is considered effective enough to be of any real use. The Lateral Flow Test is less
than 50% accurate and we do not advocate using this method.
There is evidence that testing informs behaviour, which means that those people who receive a negative test result are far less likely to comply with other safety measures, such as distancing. There is evidence that detection of the virus in asymptomatic cases is very poor, particularly in Lateral Flow testing.
It is for the above reasons and the additional logistical and economic burden that testing will place on a smaller-scale production, that we do not advocate this element of safety protocol at this time. If you have the desire, the budget and the time to implement it properly, then do so.
2.6 THE SHOOT
(a) Stagger call times where possible to avoid congestion.
(b) Keep the unit as small as possible and minimise the number of crew/ agency/client/talent on set at any one time.
(c) Wear face-coverings as much as possible indoors.
(d) Wash and thoroughly dry hands on arrival and during the day at regular intervals. Alcohol-based (60% minimum) sanitisers should be easily accessible throughout the set/location as well as soap and water provided wherever possible.
(e) Consider a video-conferencing facility relaying video remotely to agency/client.
(f) Consider increasing video monitoring on set to avoid clusters of people.
(g) All crew to adhere to any safety guidelines or notices given on the day.
(h) Consider any space markers where possible.
(i) Walkie-talkies/radios to be correctly sanitised, bagged-up and labelled with crew names before distribution - do not share equipment.
2.7 TALENT ON SET
Where appropriate physical-distancing of talent might not seem achievable on set due to creative or other action required, if possible, adapt the process(es) as much as possible to be achievable within the guidance and regulations (e.g: use members of the same household, shoot individuals as separate plates and composite in post, etc.).
2.8 LOCATION SHOOTING
(a) Initial location research can be done remotely using location libraries.
(b) Appropriate physical-distancing must be used when visiting locations and meeting property owners/managers. Face-coverings should also be worn.
(c) Note that councils are unlikely to grant any filming/location permits at the moment.
(d) Try and ensure common areas and holding areas are outside wherever possible.
(e) Prefer/prioritise for one location, without unit moves, per day.
(f) Prefer/prioritise for location in a 4G area, where possible, to transmit live video over the internet, if WiFi unavailable.
(g) Locations are to be well-ventilated. Consider bringing additional equipment to change (not recycle) the air regularly if this is not the case.
(h) Avoid the use of vapours, steam and hazers (including but not limited to dry ice, oil, mists or glycol) as they are likely to keep airborne infections in the atmosphere longer.
(i) Where possible, all locations required to share their own COVID preparedness plans.
(j) Locations to be cleaned prior to and after shooting, if possible. Locations may want to take this on themselves and charge an extra fee for this.
(k) Avoid distant locations which would require overnight accommodation for those involved. Also avoid locations which will not permit minimum appropriate physical-distancing.
(l) All recces to involve minimum crew only (self-driving and maintaining appropriate physical-distancing throughout). Masks and gloves available for all attendees as required c/o production.
(m) Location prep: Pre-light/set-build/set-dress etc., to be undertaken separately by one crew/department at a time, where possible.
2.9 STUDIO SHOOTING
All the above in 2.8 apply to studio productions as well as locations.
However, studios are likely to have their own risk assessment and COVID preparedness plans which you will have to adhere to as well.
(a) If fittings have to be done in person, then the stylist can set up clothes and supervise fitting from a safe distance.
(b) If fittings can be done at home they should be, relayed via video-call or photos.
(c) Stylist to utilise existing/talent-owned options where possible (shops and hire companies are/may be currently closed through risk of infection).
(d) Talent to dress themselves wherever possible.
(e) If styling team need to break physical -distancing measures they need to wear enhanced PPE (Tier 2 - see PPE and sanitisation section below).
2.11 HAIR AND MAKE-UP (HMU)
(a) HMU to utilise disposable kit where possible.
(b) Kit should remain unique to each artist/talent.
(c) Follow appropriate disinfecting processes, e.g., using Barbicide or equivalent.
(d) Talent to do their own touch-ups where possible.
(e) If HMU team need to step in they should wear enhanced (tier 2) PPE
(see PPE and Sanitisation section below) as necessary.
(f) Keep HMU separate from Wardrobe. Provide sufficient space for both departments to maintain an appropriate physical distance.
(a) A person within the team must be allocated on set to be responsible for monitoring COVID-related matters whether that is a health and safety officer hired by production or a nominated crew member.
(b) Require all crew to notify you immediately if they develop any symptoms.
(c) Provide crew with an email confirmation of their engagement or call-sheet for them to produce if the police question them on their travel to the location.
NB: a waiver of rights by a crew member in respect of their contracting COVID is of no value - UK law does not permit excluding liability for causing injury or death through negligence, so a waiver is not part of this guidance.
2.13 BACK-UP CREW PROVISION
In the current circumstances, many producers and clients are looking to secure their productions as far as possible, with the implementation of back-up crew. It is important that the basic principle that anyone who is prevented from taking on paid work by being formally requested to be back-up, is financially compensated for doing so. A formal request for back-up is known as a hold. Definitions below:
Pencil – this is a non-binding or tentative booking of a crew member for specified dates with no fee to be paid. The crew member is free to take up other offers of work but must first inform the person responsible for placing the pencil to give them the opportunity to hold that crew member. A pencil will lapse once either the crew member being covered passes a PCR test, it is cancelled by the individual who placed it or the production commences, whichever is the sooner. However, if none of the above occur, a pencil will automatically convert to a hold 24 hours prior to production involving the crew member commencing, at which point the agreed fee becomes payable.
Hold – this is binding booking of a crew member and a fee will need to be paid. The crew member under hold will be contractually obliged to be available and will take such steps as required to make themselves so. The hold fee is to be paid regardless of whether the crew member attends the production or not. If a hold includes a period of self-isolation, that period should be included in the fee calculation.
A hold will lapse once all production potentially involving that crew member completes. If a hold is cancelled by the individual who placed it, the full agreed fee will still need to be paid.
It is considered necessary best practice to agree any hold fees in advance as part of the estimation or quotation process – that way, everyone knows what to expect and where the costs are attributed.
It is also recommended that a payment split between the primary and back-up crew member is agreed upfront, in the event that it becomes necessary for the crew member on hold, to step in. This payment split should be based on a sum of the parties’ choosing.
2.14 TECHNICAL CREW
Appropriate PPE must be worn if breaking appropriate physical-distancing around camera or anywhere else on or off set (see PPE and sanitisation section below).
2.15 HIRED EQUIPMENT
(a) SARS-CoV-2 (the virus) can (in certain circumstances) survive up to 72 hours on plastic and steel, so try to work out advance collection/delivery/quarantine of kit/materials where possible. If that is not possible, apply a thorough sanitation process.
(b) All equipment hire facilities should have their own risk assessments and health and safety practices and should provide you with a copy.
(c) Refer to the technician or company's cleaning protocols and make sure they work for your own production.
(d) As equipment is usually expensive and specialised, please rely on crew or companies to clean before and after hire with instructions on how to wipe down during hire period for sanitation.
(e) Try and only use suppliers with their own clear COVID protocols.
(a) Consider individual hot-box or individual pre-packed delivery instead of mobile kitchen or buffet.
(b) Offer per diems to crew bringing their own meals to work, should that be necessary.
(c) Everyone must wash their hands before entering any catering/ dining area.
(d) Stagger times for eating to minimise numbers congregating together in any one area.
(e) Dining space requirements to ensure increased distance while eating with at least 2 metres space to be observed between people.
(f) Disposable, recyclable plates and cutlery to be provided.
(g) Wherever possible crew should be asked to supply their own hot and cold drinks.
(a) Crew to drive themselves to set (one person per car) and be dissuaded from using public transport where possible.
(b) Where required, production to organise transport using drivers’ local service & be able to demonstrate that they can socially distance passengers.
(c) Face-coverings to be worn in vehicles where two or more people are together.
2.18 HEALTH AND SAFETY
(a) Full risk assessment, on a job-by-job basis, will be carried out by production during prep and tech recces.
(b) Consider having a health and safety officer on shoot days for larger-scale shoots.
(c) Allocate someone from the crew to be a COVID officer to supervise other elements of COVID preparation and conduct on set.
(d) Production cannot safely confirm any crew or cast who have travelled to, or had any contact with an individual returning from, high COVID-risk countries (as deemed by UK FCO) in the 14 days prior to a shoot.
(e) All crew and talent to provide contacts for family/household in case of emergency on the day of shooting.
(f) Individuals on the shoot should be contacted subsequently by shoot producer in the event that fellow workers/talent are found to have contracted COVID-19 within the two weeks following the shoot.
(g) All workers, if they have any symptoms associated with COVID-19 or in advance of work, should report this to production and remain in quarantine at home, without going to their workplace.
(h) Avoid sharing hand tools and personal property (mobile phones, pens, walkies etc.). Crew must be responsible for the safety and sanitisation of their own items.
2.19 PPE AND SANITISATION
(a) Face-coverings are not classed as PPE, but should be worn in enclosed/indoor spaces wherever possible as a minimum level of protection for others around you.
(b) Production to have supplies of PPE for those needing to wear it:
(i) Tier 1 - basic PPE: masks (N95/P2/FFP2) and gloves
Note that wearing gloves needs to be managed correctly - wear for single-use activities and remove, also in the event that masks become mandatory, the AOP will update according to government guidelines.
(iii) Tier 2 - enhanced PPE: mask/respirator (N99/P3/FFP3), visor and gloves.
Those who need to break physical-distancing and for a length of time to carry out their duties may need to wear enhanced PPE. Crew likely to be required to wear enhanced PPE depending on circumstances will include (but are not limited to): Camera crew if gathering around camera; Styling if needing to tend to talent; HMU if needing to work on talent; Medic if needing to assess symptoms.
NOTE: remember the correct procedure for donning and removal of PPE: (1) Wash and dry hands thoroughly, (2) Put on mask, (3) Put on gloves. (4) Removal is a reversal of 1,2 and 3, i.e., remove gloves first.
(c) A separate covered bin should be provided for safe and immediate disposal of tissues and PPE.
(d) Production must have sufficient PPE of both tiers for all crew, and should bear in mind procurement timings and supplier credibility in respect of safety standards and environmental issues, and without knowingly compromising supplies to frontline care workers.
(e) Only remove talent's PPE when essential.
(f) Clearly indicated and visible spacious hygiene stations for hand-washing, with plentiful supply of alcohol-based (60% min) hand sanitiser and wipes
(g) Each individual is responsible for keeping their own area and equipment clean.
(h) Clear health etiquette to be on posters around set (e.g: Wear appropriate PPE at all times / When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow / Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth & put down and pickup items rather than handing / Do not shake hands or hug. Do maintain appropriate physical-distancing, etc.).
3. SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 HEALTH STATEMENT TO BE READ BY, OR TO, ALL SHOOT ATTENDEES
As part of our commitment to provide a safe working environment for all on set during the unprecedented, fast-changing COVID situation, we need to know that you have listened to or read, and understood the following statements as part of your agreement with the production company engaging you, in that:
- You have no cause to believe that you have COVID-19 (an NHS symptom-checker can be found here) or may have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19.
- You have been meeting the Government COVID guidelines and physical-distancing when not at work as defined here.
- As far as you are aware, you have not been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or anyone who is showing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
- You have not travelled to, nor to your knowledge had any contact with any individual travelling from any high COVID-risk countries (as deemed by UK FCO) in the 14 days prior to the shoot.
- You have not had a cough, or a temperature of 38 degrees centigrade or above in the last 14 days.
- If you develop a cough or a temperature of 38 degrees centigrade or above at any point before or during or within 14 days following the shoot you will immediately inform the photographer/production company engaging you.
- If you are over 70 years of age or have any pre-existing condition which would put yourself at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, as defined by the Government here, you must inform production.
- You will notify production immediately should anything change as regards to the above confirmations.
- You have either heard or read and understood and agree to abide by the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 AOP Shoot/Production Guidelines.
AOP SARS CoV 2 Covid 19 Shoot Production Guidelines vAOP 05
Download a PDF of the AOP COVID19 Shoot/Production Guidelines v04, here. Last updated 4 FEBRUARY 2021.
|File Size:||255.29 KB|
|Date Added:||February 4th, 2021|
Mental Health and Creative Freelancers Oct 2020
The AOP in partnership with the Association of Illustrators and the Society of Authors have released an initial version of a resource around mental health and creative freelancers. Download your PDF here
|File Size:||2.65 MB|
|Date Added:||May 14th, 2020|