Riverdale, Supergirl among B.C. TV productions put on hold by COVID-19 testing delays
VANCOUVER -- Delays for COVID-19 test results are putting filming for some TV shows on hold in B.C. While it’s not required or even recommended by public health, some productions are incorporating COVID-19 testing into their safety plans, and a surge in overall demand for tests means some shows are hitting pause while they wait.
CTV News Vancouver has learned the shows temporarily halting production include popular series like Riverdale, Supergirl, Nancy Drew and Charmed. Entertainment industry publication Variety is reporting shows such as Batwoman and Big Sky have also put shooting on hold.
Kendrie Upton, executive director of the Directors Guild of Canada BC, told CTV News the pauses speak to the level of care the productions are taking with their crews to ensure people are safe.
"We do understand that there have been some productions that have experienced brief delays while they're waiting for their test results to come back," Upton said. "Any level of testing is incorporated as part of the safety plan. Each production has to have a safety plan in B.C. per the WorkSafe guidelines, just like every single industry and business."
According to B.C.'s Ministry of Health, asymptomatic testing is not recommended as a condition of employment, and can result in false positives and negatives. However, mandatory testing regimens have been encouraged by the Screen Actors Guild.
Industry group CreativeBC did not respond to a CTV News request for an interview, but in an email said they are in touch with the province about the delay issues.
“We understand there are challenges with testing capacity and parties are working to manage the volume. We understand the situation is temporary," the group said.
The ministry of health told CTV News private companies must use a private lab such as LifeLabs to conduct testing at their own expense, and all positive results must be reported to public health.
In an emailed statement, LifeLabs said it is experiencing increased demand, and is going to be expanding its capacity.
"Testing specimens to support public health efforts to control the pandemic continues to be LifeLabs' priority. We also understand and appreciate the importance of non-public-health testing to support business and travel-related needs," the statement said.
LifeLabs said it anticipates returning to standard test turnaround times by the end of the week.
"In the interim, turnaround times for non-public-health testing to support business and travel needs have been impacted."