Austin, Texas, COVID-19 Film Resources
Updated: May 19
The Film Commission of Austin is keeping filmmakers apprised of the latest updates impacting the entertainment industry in Texas. The following guidance for film productions was released on May 18th, 2020.
During this unprecedented time, the health and well-being of our local community and industry professionals is vital. Here in Austin and Travis County, public officials have issued moratoriums prohibiting public gatherings of more than 10 people — exempting essential locations like grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and retail stores. People are asked to take part in social distancing at all times, keeping at least 6 feet apart. In addition, there is a Stay at Home-Work Safe Order currently in effect, mandating that residents stay at home, except for essential activities and essential businesses, to prevent further spread of COVID-19. If in public a mask is required. This order is in place through June 15, 2020 with the option to extend.
Under Governor Abbott's set of Executive Orders known as Open Texas, the State of Texas is slowly reopening in phases to ensure the safety workers and the general public. Austin, like all other jurisdictions within the State of Texas, is adhering to the mandates set forth in Governor’s Open Texas Executive Orders.
Phase 1 of 'Open Texas' went into effect on May 1, 2020 and is applicable to business establishments and their customers in the following categories: Retail, Restaurants, Movie Theaters, Museums & Libraries, Places of Worship, Outdoor Sports Facilities, Single-Person Offices, and Salons & Barbershops.
Phase 2 of 'Open Texas' went into effect on May 18, 2020 and is applicable to business establishments and their customers in the following categories in the following roll out order: Child Care Centers (May 18), Massage & Personal-Care Centers (May 18), Youth Clubs (May 18), Rodeo & Equestrian Events (May 22), Bowling Alleys, Bingo Halls, Simulcast Racing, & Skating Rinks (May 22), Bars (May 22), Aquariums & Natural Caverns (May 22), Zoos (May 29), Day Youth Camps (May 31), Overnight Youth Camps (May 31), Youth Sports (May 31), and Certain professional sports without in-person spectators (May 31).
Both Phases 1 and 2 of 'Open Texas' is not applicable to on-location film, television and commercial production.
Film, television and commercial productions in Austin should continue to observe and adhere to the health and regulatory recommendations of national, state and local public health officials. The Austin Film Commission is in close contact with regional public health officials and elected officials, as well as with international film associations, and is actively communicating with you as the situation changes.
In accordance with the protocols outlined in Phase 1 and 2 of the 'Open Texas' plan, those businesses can can open are mandated to do so with a limited compasity and ALL employers will be required to: train employees on appropriate sanitation techniques, provide health screenings for employees upon arrival at work, practice safe distancing measures, provide hand-washing and sanitizing stations and materials, and to suggest the use of masks and face coverings.
Evaluation of the effectiveness of Phase 2 measures and forthcoming announcements pertaining to Phase 3 of the 'Open Texas' plan, is expected to take place in early June.
We do not yet know if that will include film production or not and will share more information as it becomes available.
For additional reference, the Open Texas plan can be found at: gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas
Please note: the Texas Department of Public Safety currently have travel restrictions in place that require a mandatory 14 day quarantine for certain out-of-state travelers originating from: California, Louisiana, and Washington as well as the cities of Atlanta (GA). Chicago (IL), Detroit (MI); and Miami (FL).