Hollywood Stages May House Patients If L.A. Outbreak Worsens

Hollywood studio’s empty sound stages could soon be busy again — not with movie and television productions but with coronavirus patients.

The well-lighted and ventilated stages may be an ideal place to temporarily house people who must be isolated because they are sick with Covid-19, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a press conference on Wednesday. The city is in discussions with studios on how to use them in case of a surge in patients.

For now, Los Angeles isn’t in desperate need. It’s the second-most-populous city in the U.S. but has only a fraction of the cases of New York, and hospitals aren’t yet overflowing. Still, Los Angeles may soon see its own surge in cases that requires it to get creative to slow the spread of Covid-19.

“We have not seen the darkest days,” Garcetti said, adding that L.A. may be a week away from “where New York City is.”

Los Angeles County has five big studios, including Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros., that command sprawling lots full of stages. They are regularly transformed to look like cities on the other side of the world or remote locales such as the middle of the ocean or outer space. Because of directives to limit public gatherings, most are now sitting idle.

In addition to being well ventilated, the stages have rafters that filmmakers typically use to hang lights. Those can be repurposed to attach medical equipment, according to the mayor.

“Everything’s on the table,” Garcetti said.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Kelly Gilblom in Los Angeles at kgilblom@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

Rob Golum

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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