Desperate times call for desperate measures. South Africa is currently standing at more than 10,000 cases of the virus, the death toll stands at 194, and there have been 4,173 recoveries to date. With heightened fear concerning the virus, City Press reports that as part of the country’s ongoing Covid-19 national lockdown, kissing or facial intimacy in any performance won’t be allowed on South African TV.
It has been more than a month since the national lockdown to limit the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus forced all TV and film productions to grind to a halt; but the industry got some relief this week in the form of an announcement that productions may recommence, subject to strict on-set protocols; no kissing or facial intimacy in any performance, a maximum of 50 people on set inclusive of cast members, the use of masks on set and adherence to social distancing rules.
But actors did not have a problem with the protocols and were just happy to be back on set. Actor Zolisa Xaluva, who plays Melusi in Mzansi Magic’s telenovela Gomora, said he was privileged to be working at a time when most people found themselves in limbo and facing financial strain. “It is a blessing, but it feels weird driving to and from work without experiencing the normal Joburg traffic,” said Xaluva.
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) May 10, 2020
The impact of the pandemic on the Film industry in South Africa
The executive producer of Jiva!, award-winning writer, producer and director Busisiwe Ntintili; who also wrote the popular romantic drama Happiness is a Four-Letter Word, told City Press that plans to return to production were still being devised.
“The pandemic has been challenging for everyone in the global television and film industries. But local and global protocols are under way to ensure that all cast and crew will return to a safe shooting environment. In South Africa, where some local productions have started to return to shooting; that has meant adopting strict shooting protocols by testing cast and crew, limiting the number of cast and crew on sets, ensuring workplaces are cleaned and disinfected, and, of course, continuing to wear masks and sanitising,” she said.