Survivor production has been at a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic, but filming looks set to resume as the Fijian government approves new safety measures.
Earlier today (June 21), Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama released a statement announcing details of “Phase 2” of Fiji’s COVID-Safe Economic Recovery. In that statement, Bainimarama explained the protocols that will be put into place for upcoming film productions.
“Our COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Taskforce will also be considering special requests that promise immense economic value,” said Bainimarama. “We’re talking about projects that are exceptionally risk-free, but also exceptionally high-reward.
“In recent years, we’ve established Fiji as something of a “Hollywood of the Pacific”, with a film and television industry bringing hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity and invaluable exposure to the world. Seeing Fiji’s pristine beaches on shows like Survivor or Love Island can be more powerful than any advertisement.”
Since 2016, Survivor has filmed two seasons per year in Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands, hiring locals to work alongside their global production crew.
“When COVID-19 forced the industry to shut, it wasn’t just a blow to the millions of viewers around the world who await these hit shows in anxious anticipation—it was a blow to the hundreds of Fijians who work as crew on set and the communities that production companies have forged loving relationships with over the years.”
While plans initially called for the filming of season 41 to be postponed until May 19, the rapid spread of COVID-19 led to production being shut down “indefinitely” back in early April. All crew—both local and international—working in Fiji on pre-production were instructed to return home.
“But as we return to a “new normal”, we’re also rekindling hope for Fiji’s vital film and television industry,” continued Bainimarama. “We’ll be taking similar steps to New Zealand, who has moved to safely resume production of the sequel to Avatar. This will be done in a completely safe and controlled manner.”
Earlier in the week, Fiji Film announced that it had developed a number of safety guidelines to be followed when local and overseas productions start back up. Those protocols were dependent on government approval and have now been accepted.
“Cast and crew won’t even be allowed to board their plane without proof of a negative COVID-19 test and will be screened for symptoms both before boarding and upon landing,” explained Bainimarama. “They’ll then be entered into government-designated quarantine—whether that’s a preapproved hotel or a remote isolated island—for the mandatory 14-day period.”
The Prime Minister also revealed that the production companies will bear the costs of all quarantine and testing. It has been 64 days since Fiji confirmed its last new case of the coronavirus and over two weeks since the last of its patients fully recovered from the illness.
So what is the next step? Survivor will now need to set a date to return to Fiji, as well as inform its potential cast members of the changes. As far as Inside Survivor has heard, the season 41 cast is still waiting to hear what is happening.
The season 41 cast was locked-in back in late February, but with the change in filming dates, not to mention new measures, one would presume not all those originally cast to be able to commit. For example, a 14-day quarantine means even further time away from home and work, which would potentially lead to drop-outs.
Inside Survivor will continue to monitor the situation. For more frequent updates and discussion of rumors, you are welcome to join the new Inside Survivor Patreon, which has access to the Inside Survivor Discord server and other bonus perks!