Hollywood's film and production crews won't have to be inconvenienced by California's new Covid-19 curfew rule because Governor Gavin Newsom reportedly excluded them from having to follow his latest pandemic lockdown order.
The month-long curfew requirement, which was announced on Thursday and runs from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. each day, excludes television and movie crews, as well as other entertainment industry workers, a representative of Newsom's office told media outlet Deadline. Unlike when the governor imposed a statewide lockdown in March, entertainment industry employees are exempted as "essential" workers.
The curfew, which takes effect on Saturday, applies to the 40 California counties that are categorized in the state's highest tier for infection rates, purple, amid a surge in new Covid-19 cases. The purple tier currently covers 94 percent of the state's population, including all of Southern California.
Newsom imposed the curfew after analyzing studies on the efficacy of such restrictions in France, Germany and Saudi Arabia. He also did it after running afoul of his own social-distancing guidelines by attending a friend's birthday party at a posh Napa Valley restaurant where attendees sat shoulder-to-shoulder and didn't wear masks.
The curfew order requires that even exempted groups work from home when possible, but that's typically not the case with film and production crews.
California's list of "essential critical infrastructure" roles is billed as exempting workers needed to ensure "continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security." Among them, it lists "workers supporting the entertainment industries, studios, and other related establishments, provided they follow covid-19 public health guidance around physical distancing."
Newsom's office gave no explanation for how the making of television shows and movies was deemed to fit the description of critical to economic and national security. Making money is clearly important for Hollywood, but the same could be said for any number of businesses that have been crippled by state Covid-19 orders.
Twitter commenters mocked the decision to exempt entertainment industry workers. One observer said, "I couldn't think of a more non-essential worker," while another quipped, "The court jesters must perform."
Others argued that such an exemption proves that Newsom's Covid-19 restrictions aren't based on protecting people, while some pointed out the unfairness of economic favoritism. "Good to know Newsom gets to cherry pick the haves and have-nots with no reason," one commenter tweeted.