The film industry on Vancouver Island is experiencing its best year ever. With low COVID-19 case numbers and beautiful locations, it’s no surprise production companies want to shoot on the island.
But now one major production has chosen to shut down, not because of a positive COVID-19 test, but because of delays in receiving test results.
“We had almost 500 crew members working this week in the film industry in the CRD alone,” said Kathleen Gilbert, film commissioner for Vancouver Island south.
There are four productions currently being shot in the area, but today, Gilbert estimates that 150 to 200 people are not at work.
“We’ve had at least one show that has taken two days off,” said Gilbert. “They will resume hopefully tomorrow or Monday.”
CTV News has heard from crews of other productions in the CRD that the Netflix series, The Maid, that is shooting in Colwood is the production that has temporarily stopped shooting.
CTV News reached out to BL Buster Production Services Inc., the production company producing the series, but did not hear back as of Thursday.
“It’s just really an abundance of caution,” said Gilbert.
The pause in production is not believed to be because of a positive COVID-19 test. Instead, it’s because of a lack of access to testing and results in general.
From what Gilbert understands, the delay has largely been linked to Life Labs.
On Wednesday, Life Labs told CTV News that there was currently a longer than average wait time for receiving COVID-19 test results.
“They are experiencing increased demand and are going to be expanding their capacity,” said Life Labs in a statement. “They’re expecting to return to regular turn around times, by the end of the week.”
Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing is not required or even recommended by B.C. public health. It is something some productions have incorporated into their safely plans voluntarily.
Last week, B.C.’s top doctor had this to say about private testing: “It is private testing but absolutely, any positive test is reportable to public health,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer.