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'What a joke': Vancouverites react to American actors filming in the city in the wake of soaring COVID-19 cases

"So actors and movie crews can travel here from around the world, but we aren’t allowed to leave our health authority."
Metro Vancouver locals are expressing concerns about American actors, such as Jim Carrey and John Cena, filming in the region during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Numerous fans flock to Metro Vancouver film sets in the hopes of seeing popular stars up-close-and-personal. 

Recently, Jim Carrey was spotted in Fort Langley performing a stunt scene. Following that, John Cena celebrated his birthday in Vancouver and a couple of fans gifted him a balloon.

Fans have also photographed actors filming popular TV shows such as Riverdale, Batwoman, and Superman & Lois, just to name a few. 

But not everyone is thrilled these actors flew into town to work.

In the wake of soaring coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, many locals question why these actors--many of whom are American--are permitted to work in B.C. Of course, there isn't a rule against flying into the country for work or for recreation, but the pressure is mounting on the federal government to create one. 

Last week, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced a new order that prohibits recreational travel across the province. And while there isn't a rule against travelling outside of one's community, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has made it abundantly clear over the past few months that people should not travel outside of their neighbourhoods, except for essential purposes. 

The B.C. government hasn't suspended nonessential interprovincial travel but also advises against it. On the other side of the country, Ontario has closed its borders with Quebec and Manitoba. At the time of this writing, a campaign calling for enforced checkpoints at interprovincial borders and mandatory quarantine has over 1,000 signatures.

Additionally, the federal government continues to advise Canadians not to travel outside of the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Should American actors be allowed to film in Vancouver during a pandemic?

Numerous people commented on a couple of recent stories Vancouver Is Awesome shared about American actors filming in the region. Some of them said the film industry has gone to great lengths to protect their employees and therefore doesn't pose a threat to public safety. However, others feel that their work isn't essential and shouldn't be allowed to continue during the pandemic. 

Here is what some of our readers had to say. 

It’s Horrible that they [are] allowed to come to our country while we are not allowed our freedom to go across our [border] with our staying in a COVID prison.

     - Lena Schmittling 

Providing jobs for many people and they are doing a superb job keeping their employees safe. They are set up in Cloverdale and the protocols they have in place are exemplary.

      - Chuck Cook

Well that’s nice....... I can’t see my family or travel.....good to see [the] film industry is all good tho

       - Tim Foster

The BC film industry set up the strictest COVID-19 protocol in all of North American right from the beginning and [has] done a fabulous job. It has cost a lot more money but has kept people employed and when need to or told to shut down they do. Strict [protocols] and common-sense work.

       - Jamie Stewart

This film company has spent almost a month in Fort Langley treating our village as a movie set for them and only them. Our roads are blocked - we have one main road in and out. Our lane is blocked a d we are forced to go through private property to exit our home. The owner of over 6 properties stands to make a lot of $$$ while we feel hemmed in

        - Bonnie Hartup 

So awesome!!! Thank the government that they allow the already [super-rich] to work and earn while [we] little people can suffer and close our businesses. I love our government. They always know what’s best!! Can’t wait to watch this movie

        - Counter Perspective 

For those concerned about COVID: as someone who works in [the] film I feel safer working on a film set than I do going to a grocery store. Film [sic] employs thousands of B.C. residents. The COVID safety measures enforced on film sets include daily screenings and testing x3 a week. They have COVID sanitizers, enforcement officers, and nurses on set. A set is probably one of the safest places to work aside from working from home, which not everyone gets the privilege to do. Perhaps it is just entertainment to you, but movies are a job for many

        - Kathleen Cooper

So filming movies is an essential service is it [eye-roll Emoji]

        - Spencer Green 

How come they are allowed to film any movie's here. We are asked to stay home. No None essential travel. Some Business had to close. Restaurants only have patio seating. How is it we let people who live at the moment in a [different] county or province allowed to be here? So sad. What's good for the residents of B.C. should be good for everyone.

        - Cathie Raincock 

You are right. It is either a Pandemic for ALL or it is NOT A PANDEMIC!!!

         - Alda McCulloch

Yep, so actors and movie crews can travel here from around the world, but we aren’t allowed to leave our health authority. What a joke.

         - Catherine Bartlett 

WorkSafeBC on the film industry and the pandemic 

WorkSafeBC has laid out general COVID-19 safety protocol for motion picture and television production, which includes sanitizing policies, masks, physical distancing, people working remotely when possible, and various ways to stagger the departments to prevent high traffic areas.

A COVID-19 Safety Plan must also be published on a company website, on the set and at the production office. 

Additionally, the company must "establish policies restricting access to the worksite for those who are sick or who have travelled from outside of Canada" and they must "ensure cast and crew have a process for identifying if they have developed symptoms."

Visit WorkSafeBC online for further information.