COVID-19 Guidelines

We are motivated for our industry to get back to work, but also ensure that we identify all reasonable and practical steps to safeguard the health and safety of everyone attending a Black Milk photographic or film shoot in relation to COVID-19.

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, all employers have a legal duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of anyone who has contact with their business (employees, freelancers, contractors, members of the public etc). We follow the latest government guidance on how businesses should control COVID-19 risks, as well as guidance from the WHO, the APA, BECTU and the European Institute for Heath & Safety in the Film Industry and the European Film Commissions Network on what should be considered (and relevant parts implemented) alongside our business' safety management procedure.

We have completed the First Option and APA COVID-19 Managing Risks on Productions.

In addition, everyone working on the production and attending has responsibilities in respect of COVID-19, to meet and work within these Guidelines. They too can meet them by complying with these guidelines and will be required to do so if attending one of our productions.

The purpose of social distancing and PPE is to break the transmission of the virus and reduce infection. We should operate on the basis that we all have the potential to be asymptomatic carriers and must adhere to the safety principles to minimise risk.

Therefore the following essential rules are based on current UK Government guidelines, and must be adhered to:

  • Maintain social distancing wherever possible - two metres apart (one metre with risk mitigation where two metres is not viable is acceptable).
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, or hand sanitiser (containing at least 60% alcohol) if soap and water are not available, for at least 20 seconds as often as possible.
  • Cough and sneeze in the crook of the arm or into a tissue and bin immediately.
  • Report COVID-19 symptoms to employer.
  • Work from home where possible.
  • Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, productions should take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission by:
    • considering whether an activity needs to continue for the business to operate
    • keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
    • using screens or barriers to separate people from each other
    • using back-to-back or side-to-side working whenever possible
    • staggering arrival and departure times
    • reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using fixed teams or partnering
    • The number of people on set should be kept to a minimum. Anyone - production staff, cast, crew, agency and client - who is not absolutely necessary to have on set should not attend.
  • Every person who will be attending the shoot - because it is necessary that they do so - shall sign the COVID-19 Health Declaration Form.
  • A COVID-19 Risk Assessment will be completed and shared with everyone attending prior to the shoot.
  • It should be noted that both pre-production and production are likely to take longer to enable compliance as a result, and that studios and/or locations required may need to be larger than they would under previous circumstances to accommodate social distancing requirements.


  • Scripts, mood boards and treatments need to have in mind the current restrictions.
  • All pre-production processes to be managed remotely where possible.
  • H&S advisor or COVID-19 Supervisor to attend tech recce and produce COVID-19 specific risk assessment.
  • Casting should be conducted online where possible, real time uploads and remote directing capabilities to be utilised.
  • All cast and crew to sign and return the Health Declaration form as listed in Appendix 1 of the APA COVID-19 Shooting Guidelines prior to shooting.
  • Production paper workflow to be paperless as the virus can live for 24 hours on paper. All documents to be downloaded to personal devices.
  • Vehicles - all crew advised to self-drive or to cycle if possible. If public transport cannot be avoided, government guidelines to be followed and masks to be worn.
  • Unit vehicles including unit vans will be sanitised before and after production interactions. Drivers will adhere to and be supervised according to safety protocols.
  • Wardrobe fittings can be done remotely via video conferencing or in-person if required ensuring wardrobe is supervised from a safe distance, wearing PPE equipment (as outlined in APA guidelines) and wardrobe sanitation prior and after fitting is adhered to.


General Information

  • Daily briefings to ensure compliance with Risk Assessment.
  • COVID-19 Supervisor on all shoots.
  • An advised unit medic on set at all times dependent on crew size and location logistics.
  • All team must adhere to any safety guidelines or notices given on the day.
  • All crew must notify production if and immediately as they develop any of the symptoms:
    • Coughing
    • Sneezing
    • Fever
    • Shortness of breath
    • Loss of sense of smell or taste
    • Diarrhoea
    • Abdominal pain
  • Staggered call and meal break times.
  • Temperature check with contactless thermometers on arrival for H&S record.
  • Everyone to wash hands upon arrival and at regular intervals throughout the day where possible.
  • Alcohol-based sanitisers will be visible and provided throughout the set.
  • Each department is responsible for keeping their own area and equipment clean.
  • Interaction between departments to be kept to a minimum.
  • Floor markings and one-way systems to be implemented where possible.
  • Remote-monitoring technology and video playback to reduce number of people present on set.
  • Radios sanitised, bagged and individually labelled for safe distribution. Teams must not share radios.
  • PPE equipment to be provided to all crew. Crew can bring their own, production will be able to supply also.
  • Regular waste collections and covered bins provided for safe disposal of tissues and PPE.
  • Masks and gloves will be available for all crew who do not have their own. Masks must be worn if there is a risk social distancing may be broken. Masks should be washed or replaced regularly, depending on the type of mask. Hands must be washed after touching or adjusting masks. If masks are taken off for lunch or another reason they should never be placed on a common surface and shouldn’t be placed around the neck.
  • Gloves should be worn for single use activities and then disposed of safely into a bin.
  • Masks, disposable aprons and face shields or goggles will be available and to be worn by camera, styling, hair and make-up teams or indeed any team member where they need to break social distancing rules.
  • If talent are to be shot together to execute the creative on set, they must be informed and agree prior to the shoot.
  • Vapours, steam and hazers are not to be used at this time as they are likely to keep airborne infections in the atmosphere longer.
  • Individuals on the shoot will be contacted subsequently in the event that fellow workers or talent are found to have contracted COVID-19 within 14 days following the shoot.

Hair and Make-up

  • Where social distancing is not possible PPE equipment to be worn.
  • Masks, disposable gowns and face shields or goggles are advised. Face Shields should be wiped down between each use.
  • HMU teams to follow appropriate barbicide and other disinfecting processes.
  • Individual make-up brushes and wardrobe bags per artist, cleaned at the end of each day or disposables to be used.
  • Social distanced workstations are to be set up and talent to have their own individual private hair and make-up spaces where possible.
  • HMU and wardrobe departments to social distance.
  • Talent will be staggered to ease congestion.


  • Where possible models | talent should dress themselves
  • Clothes should be quarantined for a minimum of 48 hours and stored in bags before it is introduced to talent.
  • Where this is not possible, Ozone Technology to be used to sterilise clothes.
  • HMU and wardrobe departments to social distance.
  • Talent to be given separate private dressing areas.

Set Design

  • Props disinfected and quarantine period to be adhered to.
  • Limit handling of key props to prop master and relevant talent.
  • If location needs to be dressed art department to have sole access to dress so social distancing measures can be implemented and fully sanitised before next department enters.
  • Allow time for additional cleaning and disinfection of props, furniture and other set dressing when they have been handled, leaned against, etc. by other cast or crew members.
  • Approve props during prep if possible and view from a distance; by photograph, online or at dedicated table.

Technical Equipment

  • All suppliers to follow strict hygiene protocol measures and all kit to be sanitised prior to leaving the suppliers yard.
  • Process to be put in place for safe handling of items such as camera cards.
  • Remote monitoring and remote focus to be used where possible.
  • Allow sufficient additional time to install and strike equipment safely whilst operating under COVID-19 safer working guidance.
  • Additional time needed in order for equipment to be sanitised and wiped down after each shoot day.
  • Boom sound where possible, or train talent to apply mics themselves if booming not feasible.

Location | Studio

  • We will consult with each location or studio on their COVID-19 cleaning guidelines in advance and adhere to their rules.
  • Studios and locations to be ‘deep cleaned’ before and after each shoot and frequently cleaned in the day and evening.
  • All working, waiting and other communal production areas (e.g. offices, dressing rooms, eating areas, toilets/washrooms, queueing areas) to be deep cleaned daily.
  • Locations that require overnight accommodation for any team member should be avoided at this time. If we are shooting on location, a Health & Safety officer will attend a technical recce in order to be able to complete a risk assessment, specific to this location and production.
  • Unit base to be walking distance to location where possible to avoid unnecessary travel.
  • Depending on location and talent numbers additional artist trailers may be required to adhere to 2m physical distancing and no sharing of trailers between talent. Toilets to be cleaned regularly throughout the day.
  • Trailers and facility vehicles to be sanitised before use and if | when occupants change. Toilets to be cleaned regularly throughout the day. All common touch points to be cleaned regularly throughout the day.

Catering & Craft

  • Everyone must wash their hands before entering catering | dining area.
  • All food to be individually pre-packaged.
  • Physical distancing (2m) to be maintained during meal breaks for queuing and eating.
  • Lunch breaks to be staggered depending on shoot numbers.
  • Disposable, recyclable plates and cutlery to be provided.
  • No unwrapped food or snacks to be left out.
  • Catering crew to wear appropriate PPE.
  • Crew will still be encouraged to bring a water bottle or use a production-supplied new bottle. A charcoal based water filtration system will be supplied.
  • Production will be responsible for handing out all drinks and food including water refills.
  • The main craft area and fridges will be out of reach of crew to avoid any cross contamination.
  • Each department will be supplied with their own craft services.
  • Any crew member who would prefer to bring their own meal should notify production in advance and will be offered a per diem.

Remote Streaming

  • Live remote playback will be available to client or agency. This should be requested in advance to ensure reliability of service.