'The Good Doctor' production halted over COVID-19 testing
VANCOUVER -- Shooting on the fourth season of ABC medical drama The Good Doctor has come to a halt.
Production was scheduled to resume today in Vancouver but is on pause because of a disagreement over how often cast and crew should be tested for the novel coronavirus.
The cast has flown in and passed its 14-day mandatory quarantine required by the federal government. But most of the crew was suddenly laid off, according to a statement from Sony Pictures Television.
"There is an issue with COVID-19 testing, which we are working to resolve with the BC Council," a spokesperson confirmed to CTV News in regards to the disagreement with the BC Council of Film Unions.
The production company wants more frequent testing, but the council cites provincial health guidelines and says it is meeting health requirements set by pandemic response protocol.
Insiders tell CTV News that Sony wants cast and crew tested roughly three times each week.
B.C.'s top doctor said guidelines are in place to keep people safe but she did not diretly comment on the disagreement affecting production of The Good Doctor.
"These are all delicate negotiations between the union and production company," said Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.
"We have perimeters that we have in place to keep workers safe, and WorkSafeBC has very detailed perimeters for productions like this one and we expect those to be adhered to," she said.
The Good Doctor is a high-profile U.S. series about a gifted surgeon with autism. It is one of dozens of television series shot in British Columbia.
Aware the implication could affect current and future productions, a spokesperson for the BC Council of Film Unions confirms it is trying to reach a solution.
"We are aware of the situation, and all local unions and guilds [...] have been working to resolve the issues so that B.C. motion picture workers can get back to work in one of the safest jurisdictions to film in North America," wrote a spokesperson for IATSE Local 891. "We hope to find a resolution shortly."
A spokesperson with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture also says the province is closely monitoring negotiations.
"We all want to ensure that film production sets are safe," a ministry spokesperson wrote in a statement.
"B.C. has strong public health measures in place to protect people and we trust they will come to a resolution so that everyone can get back to the set."