The subject of the need to use masks to prevent the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and to maintain a distance of 1.5 m between workstations raises a lot of emotions, especially in the film industry.

On the one hand, the performance of activity by entities involved in the production of cinema films, video recordings, television programmes (television series, documentaries) and television commercials is not subject to restrictions, while on the other hand, the 1.5 m social distance or the obligation to wear masks will effectively prevent the performance of activity by entrepreneurs operating in this industry.

The LSW law firm, in connection with appearing doubts connected with the impreciseness of the provisions of the Ordinance of the Council of Ministers of 2 May on establishing certain limitations, orders and prohibitions in connection with the occurrence of an epidemic, decided to apply for an official opinion of the Ministry of Health concerning the wearing of masks on a film set, organised in various places (in various types of buildings, including private dwellings, as well as in the open air) and the necessity to keep a distance of 1.5 m in situations in which the actors cannot keep it and cannot use masks due to the type of scenes which have to be filmed – relational situations in which there is a reduction of the distance between actors or physical contact between them.

Opinion of the Ministry of Health

In accordance with the opinion of the Ministry of Health, in the situation of performing professional, service or paid activities connected with film and television production, persons participating in it during their performance are not obliged to wear masks on the premises. In addition, the Ministry of Health assessed that the distance of at least 1.5 m between workstations specified in the aforementioned regulation is only required if this is possible due to the nature of the activity performed. When this is not possible, the employer is obliged to provide adequate personal protective equipment related to COVID-19 outbreak control.

Although the Ministry of Health has not specified what personal protective equipment, apart from masks, is adequate in situations where the distance is reduced below 1.5 m, it has indicated the need to follow and adhere to, when operating, the orders and guidelines published on government websites dedicated to the subject of COVID-19.

The opinion of the Ministry of Health is available HERE

It should be emphasised that although there is no obligation to wear masks on set, in order to minimise the risk of virus transmission and to ensure the safety of projects and people working on set, it is recommended to use masks in all situations when it is possible.

A similar position is taken by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, which today published an extensive article on the third stage of the lifting of restrictions. The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage recommends that on resumed film sets all crew members should work in masks, as long as it does not prevent them from performing their tasks and duties effectively. Exceptions include actors due to make-up and hairstyles – in this case it is recommended that they keep their distance from other members of the film crew. At the same time, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage recommends limiting the number of people on the set as much as possible, depending on the character of the shooting day, and arranging the crew in such a way as not to create larger gatherings, e.g. by separating zones for moving around the set.