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COVID-19 update

Advice and information about COVID-19.

Last updated: 24 March 2020

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is continuing to have a huge impact on our sector.

Visit the COVID-19: screen sector Q&A which sets out information and guidance we have so far on COVID-19 and its impact on the sector at large.

On 24 March we announced a new partnership with The Film and TV Charity to create a new COVID-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund. Established with a £1m donation from Netflix, the new fund will provide emergency short-term relief to active workers and freelancers in the UK who have been directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Film and TV Charity is currently working on the precise eligibility criteria and level of individual funding, but the fund will be open to those working in production, distribution and exhibition. To be the first to hear when the fund launches, join the charity’s mailing list.

Read the message to industry from Ben Roberts, Chief Executive of the BFI, issued on Monday 16 March.

Overview

The latest guidance from the UK Government is for everyone to stay at home, except for very limited purposes, which are: shopping for basic necessities; one form of exercise a day; any medical need; or travelling to and from work if this absolutely cannot be done from home. The Government has requested all non-essential retail stores close and all public gatherings of more than two people are stopped.

The current advice states that if you have one of two key symptoms – a high temperature or a new and continuous cough  – you should completely self-isolate for at least seven days or until such time as your temperature returns to normal. If you live with other people, they should stay at home for at least 14 days from the day the first person in the household had symptoms. See the NHS guidance on self-isolation. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has also advised against all non-essential travel overseas.

Our support

With the Film & TV Charity, we have set up a new COVID-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund with a £1m donation from Netflix. The new fund will provide emergency short-term relief to active workers and freelancers in the UK who have been directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The precise eligibility criteria are currently being worked on, but it will be open to those working in production, distribution and exhibition. To be the first to hear when the fund launches, join the charity’s mailing list.

Those in immediate and urgent need should apply for support through the Film and TV Charity’s existing hardship fund, offering grants of up to £500 to provide stop-gap support.

We are in constant communication with colleagues in Government and other funders across the sector, to ensure we all fully understand the ramifications of the most critical issues, and can help shape measures to address them.

We urge practitioners across the industry and cultural sector to contact us with their key concerns. Use the covid-19.queries@bfi.org.uk email address, a centralised point for all enquires to feed into our impact response recommendations, and from where we can also signpost you to the most relevant advice if necessary.

We will collate all queries, so we can feedback to Government, and continue to pass intelligence in both directions.

To support all our BFI funded partners during these exceptional circumstances, we have advised we can offer flexibility on both the scheduling of payments and on delivery against current activity targets if necessary. We encourage funded partners to please get in touch their BFI contact with any specific questions or concerns about your organisation and the effects of the COVID-19.

We’ll also keep our social media channels and website updated as and when guidance and information changes.

Industry helpline

The Film and TV Support Line is always available, 24/7, helping people in the industry manage issues big and small. Call 0800 054 00 00 and access via live-chat. If the current situation is having an impact, the team offer a listening ear and help you to think through your options.

Government support

On 17 March, the Chancellor announced a £330 billion package of support for businesses impacted by COVID-19. Support will be available to businesses of all sizes in the form of cash grants, as well as tax and/or business rates holidays. This follows details in the 2020 Budget, detailing support for public services, individuals and businesses impacted by COVID-19. To find out if you’re eligible, we’ve summarised the support available to freelancers, the self-employed and small businesses here:

The UK Government has provided general advice for employees, employers and businesses. We expect that further specific measures for freelancers, self-employed and sole traders will be forthcoming in the next few days.

Where to find latest guidance

The latest information from Government can be found here: gov.uk/coronavirus

In addition, more information on specific areas can be found here:

 

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