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Portugal Film Commission's COVID-19 Guidelines for filming in 2020

Updated: May 19, 2020

Guidelines and document prepared by the Portugal Film Commission.

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These guidelines are intended for all who are planning, working or participate in filming in Portugal. The current COVID-19 pandemic has affected a diversity of sectors of economic activity, including cinema and audio-visual.

However, with the foreseeable lifting of restrictive measures and the state of emergency, filming in Portugal will have to be resumed, keeping in mind the exceptional nature of the current moment. Based on the recommendations of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) for the prevention of COVID-19, the Portugal Film Commission indicates in this document the basic guidelines so that filming in Portugal can take place with the least possible risk.

It should be noted, however, that this document will be subject to necessary changes, whenever there are guidelines from the Portuguese Government that have an impact on the situations covered here.


1. Information Film crews must have access to information on the risks of contagion from COVID-19 and be made aware of the preventive behaviour they must adopt throughout the project, namely by posting the basic hygiene rules published by DGS.

The symptoms associated with COVID-19 are fever (equal to or greater than 38º), cough and difficulty breathing. However, there may also be sore throat, runny nose, headaches and / or and tiredness, even though this is not considered a symptom of suspected COVID-19.

In case of suspicion or symptoms associated with COVID-19 disease outside the working day, they must inform the producing company, immediately call SNS 24 (808 24 24 24) or go to a Community ADC1 and remain quarantine at home, without personally going to work.

(1) Or to an ADC-SU if you are critically ill or in need of urgent care. ADCs are Dedicated Areas COVID-19 in Primary Health Care (ADC-COMMUNITY) and Dedicated Areas COVID-19 in SNS Emergency Services (ADC-SU) - https://www.dgs.pt/directrizes-da- dgs / norms-and-circular-normatives / norm-n-0042020-de-23032020-pdf.aspx

2. Social distance

Filming locations, both outside and inside, must consider the need to ensure compliance with the rules of mandatory social distance between team members.

It is also recommended to separate the technical teams, in order to avoid a concentration of large numbers of people in the same space.

3. Establishment of individual hygiene rules

The producers should disclose, preferably during the morning briefing to the film crews and all the elementsthat will participate in them, the following hygiene rules, avoiding the distribution of paper pamphlets and opting for their digital dissemination, according to the guidelines DGS, as well as the following procedures:

Sanitization of hands:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry them thoroughly.

  • As an alternative to washing with soap and water, whenever it is not available, use a hand sanitizer that has at least 70% alcohol, covering all surfaces of the hands and rubbing them until they are dry.

Respiratory etiquette:

  • Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands.

  • Cough or sneeze into the forearm or sleeve, with the forearm flexed or using tissue paper.

  • Sanitize your hands after contact with respiratory secretions.

Placement of the mask, which can be used with a visor (the mask is always mandatory in closed spaces):

  • Include hand hygiene before putting on and after removing the mask and visor.

4. Remote working

Whenever possible, working remotely is recommended for functions that can be accomplished in this way, including casting or other, to avoid contact between people. It is also suggested to replace face-to-face meetings with videoconferences.

5. Symptoms awareness

Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing, should be immediately removed from the filming location, the contingency plan must be triggered and applied a quarantine in a location indicated in that plan, and SNS24 should be contacted immediately.

6. Contingency plan

In each filming location, there must be a contingency plan prepared and available, according to the recommendations of the DGS, for immediate action if there is a suspicion or a positive COVID-19 case detected.

This contingency plan should be made known, preferably by digital means, to all involved in production / filming.

This plan must be adapted to the characteristics of the project (filming location, size of the team, facilities, etc.) and must be shared with the service providers that access the location of the filming, and include, whenever possible, protocols that already exist in the make-up and wardrobe teams.

This contingency plan must be a document containing all the preventive measures and immediate action measures to be applied if symptoms are detected. The creation and implementation of this plan is the responsibility of the producing company.


These are the minimum guidelines to be followed by the production at any filming location. The production team should ensure that everyone who participates in it is aware of them and that they are obliged to comply with basic safety rules.

1. Social distance in filming

The minimum social distance that you should always try to ensure between people at the filming location is 2 (two) meters (approximately- 6,5 ft.).

When filming indoors, the maximum number of team members allowed on the premises must always be based on the available space and the need to ensure proper social distance.

The number of people present simultaneously, whether from the production team, actors, other professionals necessary to the scenes, etc., should be reduced to the minimum necessary for the operation to be carried out.

In the common areas that exist on site, the distancing rules must be followed, and the layout of the common areas must comply with these same rules.

2. Isolation and security of the filming location

To avoid contact with people that are unfamiliar with the shooting, the location must be isolated, and access and security must be properly controlled. Entrances and exits must be made to ensure that there is no crossing of people, and preferably from different places. Entry exit and circulation areas must be well defined.

3. Organization of the filming location

Separation of specific groups should be ensured, considering key team members, actors, and other professions that are difficult to replace (for example, they must have their own facilities, make-up room, catering area, etc.).

To try to guarantee the fluency of work at the beginning of each day of filming, the team's calling hours must be done in a phased manner, with the director and production team defining the order of entry of the other teams at the filming locations. , whenever possible in a sequential manner.

4. Protective measures

The minimum equipment and protection measures to be ensured at the filming location will be:

a) Wearing a mask (or mask / visor combination) - everyone present at the filming location must wear a mask. The only exception is for the actors while they are filming.

b) Contactless thermometers must be at the filming and production location.

Thermometers could be used to measure temperature to team members whose presence is needed on the set and, whenever necessary, to any of the others present on the site, without recording any data obtained, quickly and safely.

c) There should be disinfectant products, alcohol-based, at entry and exit points at the filming locations, as well as in the inside, to allow frequent cleaning, as necessary.

d) When filming takes place outdoors, it is recommended that whenever possible, the area be disinfected using a spray prior to the arrival of the team or the same disinfection requested to the competent entities for the purpose.

e) Whenever there is filming in vehicles, production must ensure their disinfection, as well as those used for the transportation of technical and artistic teams (considering the cleaning rules listed in the following number 5.).

5. Equipment / facilities suitable for hygiene practices

The production must designate one or more elements of the team, or, if applicable, an external team, who will be responsible for ensuring that all physical conditions are met for hygiene practices necessary for disease prevention, as well as performing all tasks from there, namely those set out below.

Frequent cleaning, in between each use, of equipment / spaces (such as door handles, surfaces, sanitary ware, non-individual work stations, and any equipment used by more than one person) should be ensured, as well as the correct management of residues (gloves, masks, etc.).

In relation to cleaning materials, according to DGS guidelines, it must be ensured that:

  • There must be different cleaning materials (for exclusive use) according to the risk level of the areas to be cleaned.

  • Cleaning cloths should preferably be single-use and disposable (use and lay outside), differentiated by a colour code, for each of the areas, according to the level of risk. Examples are: benches, tables, chairs, armchairs for restaurants and offices, among others - blue; meal tables and food preparation areas - green; bathrooms: cleaning cloth, just to clean the sink - yellow; toilet cloth (outside) - red; the inner part of toilet does not need a cloth. It must be scrubbed with the toilet brush itself and with base detergent disinfectant.

  • The bucket and mop for the floor are usually reusable, so ensure a cleaning and disinfection of this equipment at the end of each use.

  • The bucket and mop must be different for the areas mentioned above. For example: the bucket and mops used in bathrooms should not be used in eating areas or in other public spaces.

There must be proper receptacles to deposit gloves and disposable masks, which must then be handled by elements wearing gloves and placed in general garbage containers in properly closed bags.

Bags for placing masks that are capable of sterilization and reuse should also be made available.

6. Catering

Catering must be provided in a place in which the proper social distance can be respected and meals must be individually packed and distributed, in order to prevent contagion.

Meals should be made in small groups and with different schedules.

Whenever the time difference is not possible, a takeaway regime should be adopted so that all the elements after receiving their properly packed meal can step away, complying with the mandatory social distance.

There should be, next to the catering areas, differentiated and properly closed garbage receptacles marked for the disposal of meals.

Whenever hiring a catering company, it will be responsible for monitoring the health status of its professionals involved and ensuring all conditions are met for the safe delivery of meals.

All catering personnel must wear gloves to avoid direct contact with food. Disposable materials, cutlery, and equipment should be used whenever possible. When this is not possible, it is essential to ensure the disinfection of plates, glasses, and cutlery; other utensils used in making food or drinks; equipment (coffee machine, fridge, microwave, water dispenser, etc.).

Food or drink will not be distributed at the filming location. A place should be designated where the food for the team / cast is made available, preferably by a single person from the catering. The use of bottled water and a personal cup of coffee is encouraged, environmentally conscious use.

7. Hair and make-up

Hair and make-up are allowed, but, whenever possible, the actors should be the ones to apply their own make-up. Hairdressers and makeup artists must wear type II masks and gloves while working near the actors.

Before and after the make-up and hair session, actors, makeup artists, and hairdressers are required to wash or disinfect their hands. Products and applicators, including mascara and lipstick, cannot be reused.

Disposable applicators should be used, whenever possible. Hairbrushes or other utensils should be sterilized between uses. The stay of actors / technicians in the make-up room should be kept to a minimum.

At the end of the shoot, each actor must remove his own makeup to avoid contact. When possible, it should be considered to have makeup artists / hairdressers for the main cast and others for the general figuration.

8. Wardrobe

The Wardrobe Department must clean and sanitize equipment and clothing worn by the cast on a regular basis.

The washing of the clothes must be done either in a specialized laundry or, if it is done in domestic washing machines, using water temperature washing programs above 60ºC.

The personal clothes of the actors must be handled and put into bags by themselves.

If there are scenes with doubles, their own costumes must be ensured, and there can be no change of clothes from the actor to the double and vice versa. All the material used - such as hangers, irons, sewing machines, clothes racks, among others - must be disinfected by the team using them.

9. Art / Props

The Art / Props Department must disinfect all props before and after using them and ensure that food / drinks, bottles, glasses, plates, and other utensils used for casting and figuration are properly and previously disinfected.

10. Image / Lighting / Machinery

The Image, Lighting, and Machinery Departments should limit the use of their equipment to the same technicians and clean and sanitize it.

Priority will be given to the existence of independent monitors for the Director, Director of Photography and Chamber Assistant, to fulfill the distances between team members.

11. Sound

During filming, the disinfection of microphones, perches, booms and other equipment should be ensured.

Whenever possible, the use of the perch should be privileged instead of lapel microphones and auto-mixing by the actors.

12. Scene restrictions

The following situations should be avoided:

  • Realization of scenes that involve a large group of people in the same place, making it impossible to ensure minimum social distance.

  • Scenes that involve direct and personal physical contact between actors.

Whenever the scenes that cause direct physical and personal contact are imperative for the course of action, it is highly recommended that the actors involved prove their health status:

a) demonstrating that a period of 14 days of isolation has been completed, immediately preceding the beginning of filming; OR, not being possible,

b) with a negative SARS-CoV-2 test, carried out on a date as close as possible to the realization of the respective scenes, fulfilling isolation since the test was carried out (as the test only determines the subject's condition at the exact date of realization of it), always aiming to guarantee maximum safety for all involved.

13. Final dispositions

For more information, you can access the following website, which is being updated accordingly the relevant guidelines: https://covid19.min-saude.pt/#