How Tyler Perry's 'camp quarantine' fended off the pandemic during filming of 'Sistas'

Anousha Sakoui, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Most of the filming that has resumed in L.A. County has been smaller commercial and music shoots. The threat of a second wave has given some producers renewed pause.

Perry's experience is being closely watched for how safely crew members can work together in jobs in which social distancing is often hard to implement.

Under the rules set by the major Hollywood unions and studio producers, crew are tested weekly or every three days if unable to socially distance. But Perry's protocols went even further.

"Everything in the plan, we followed it to the letter and it worked," Perry said.

Cast and crew were tested two weeks before flying by private plane to the set, and then again on landing in Atlanta, and then sequestered in private rooms until the results came back.

Some of the cast and crew tested positive on arrival to set and were sent for medical attention. Masks and social distancing were observed on set during filming and there were no positive tests during the shoot. Crew were not allowed to leave for 14 days and were tested every four days.


Like other productions, Perry said testing had its challenges.

"The most important day that we needed the test back right away was delayed about by almost two days, because of just the backlog of people having COVID tests, which I completely understand," said Perry.

One takeaway for Perry was how effective masks can be at preventing the spread of the virus. A driver became infected with the disease but none of the crew members who drove around with him in a car got sick because all had been wearing masks, he said.

"We traced all the people that were in the car with that person. ... Everybody in the car wore masks and did the right thing, and none of those people were positive," Perry said.


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