AIRLINES: Lufthansa, Air France, Qatar Airlines are among the airlines that are flying in and out of South Africa, with Emirates resuming flights from 28 February and Qatar increasing to 28 weekly flights from 1st March. There have been many changes but replacement flights are always booked.
AIRPORTS AND IMMIGRATION: South Africa is open to all travellers (business and tourist) of all nationalities, subject to presentation of a negative PCR Covid test dated within 72 hours of their departure flight; the usual visa requirements apply. All arriving passengers will be screened at the airport; provided they do not have any symptoms and can present all necessary documents, they will be allowed to enter the country without any quarantine.
Where travellers must be able to prove that they are traveling for work. we have been providing invitation letters as well as the Visa Letters of Authority.
BEACHES: have remained open for filming throughout and are now fully open to the public.
BRINGING AFRICA TO THE AGENCY: for the agency and clients who cannot travel, we recently arranged a virtual safari with the film industry’s own Luke Cornell over lunchtime on one of our shoot days. One US client also arranged to have gift packs including some of the Moonlighting kit delivered to their clients in various cities in the USA.
COVID TESTING – Antigens & PCR Covid tests are readily available in South Africa. Testing crew with Antigens or PCR tests before a shoot is the “new normal” and crew are well-used to it. We arrange pre-flight PCR tests for our clients either at clinics or with doctors who come to them. To date, all crew and clients have tested negative, through our early January peak as well as now, at the end of our second wave.
COVID PROTOCOLS: NO MASK, NO ENTRY – Masks, social distancing and sanitizing are mandatory throughout South Africa. This has become very normal and it’s surprising how quickly we all get used to it. At Moonlighting, we screen everyone when they arrive at the office and have created safe, screened workstations with numbers limited in all areas to allow several production teams to work comfortably and safely.
CURFEW: Our curfew applies from 11pm – 4am but can be worked around for shoots. Restaurants close slightly earlier than normal to allow staff to get home before curfew.
LEISURE TIME: We will let our client’s comments speak for themselves:
“While we all wish we could be in CapeTown without any restrictions, we had a chance to see all the beautiful nature, all the different neighborhoods and beaches, and tried a few delicious restaurants. I felt like I had a complete Cape Town experience albeit with a mask. The restrictions are something we all learned to live with and are very comparable to what we have to follow in the US.” – Veronika Fontaine, Mekanism
PRODUCTION SAFETY PROTOCOLS – We test all crew and talent prior to shooting. On shoot days, we employ Covid safety officers who screen all those who come to set upon arrival and who ensure that our government approved safety protocols are strictly followed at all times. All locations are assessed by Covid safety officers to determine maximum safe numbers with a maximum limit of 75 at any one location or basecamp. Screening on arrival at set has been streamlined to ensure that it does not cause any delays.
RESTAURANTS: are all open and apply strict protocols. Tables are spaced out, all staff wear masks and patrons wear masks when they are not at their tables.
RESTRICTIONS: while officially on “Level 3” our restrictions are minimal and mainly based around social distancing and mask wearing. Gatherings are limited by numbers; we have a curfew from 11pm – 4am (which can be worked around for shoots); alcohol is available from liquor stores from Monday to Thursday and daily from restaurants and wine farms.
SHOPS: are all open. Numbers are limited to allow for social distancing and you must sanitise at the door.
SOUTH AFRICAN COVID NUMBERS: our numbers are right down. Numbers at 22 Feb are:
New cases: current daily rate of around 1200 new cases per day with a total of 42728 active cases.
Western Cape: current daily rate of 110 – 250 new cases per day with approx. 4900 active cases.
When comparing numbers and deaths per million, South Africa remains much lower than many 1st world countries and our numbers continue to decline daily while essentially being open.
STREAMING: Moonlighting’s focus is on recreating the onset experience no matter where the participants are, with a robust video embedded communication system. 49 streaming days later with 100% uptime, we have managed to refine this into a world class offering. While no-one can 100% guarantee bandwidth, we have always managed to harvest it if it’s there. Even the notoriously difficult Kogelbaai Beach was conquered using a microwave link. Our experience over the past few months’ shoots has covered the full range of situations and options; it’s like pioneering all over again!
Some client feedback on streaming:
“We were able to have seamless communication with our team in SF who were joining remotely.” – Veronika Fontaine, Mekanism
“the infrastructure Moonlighting has set up for streaming for the Video Village is amazing and better than anything I have experienced. It’s really well set up and has worked really well.”- Michaela McKee, 1stAveMachine
VACCINATION PROGRAMME: South Africa’s vaccination drive is in its second week with vaccines that have been proved to be effective against the so-called South African variant. South Africa has so far secured 9 million J&J vaccines, some 20 million Pfizer vaccines, a further 12 million from the global WHO COVAX scheme and more through the African Union.
VILLAS & HOTELS – most hotels are open and offering competitive rates. Some clients – especially those who have come for a few projects – have chosen to stay in gorgeous villas with pools and are making the most of the South African summer.
VIRUS VARIANTS: there has been much talk of the South African variant which, international scientists have emphasised, was discovered here but did not necessarily originate from here. South Africans are being vaccinated with vaccines that have been proven to be effective against the variant.
“Despite the news regarding this new variant of Covid, I never felt in danger because everything had been put in place to ensure that we were as safe as possible. I was able to focus on the work without being stressed by Covid.” – Maud Chalard, Photographer / Director