Shut Down of Los Angeles COVID-19 Test Site for Film Shoot Sparks Social Media Backlash

Shut Down of Los Angeles COVID-19 Test Site for Film Shoot Sparks Social Media Backlash
UPDATE, 1:00 AM, Dec. 1: Shortly after midnight, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti reversed a decision to cancel COVID-19 testing at Union Station on Tuesday, and said that all 504 scheduled appointments have been restored.

“Working with @LAFD, @Curative & @MetroLosAngeles, my team has worked to reopen testing at Union Station on Tuesday. The 504 Angelenos who were scheduled for a test there can visit the kiosk as originally planned or any of the other 14 City sites, where we offer 38K tests daily,” Garcetti said in a statement posted to Twitter.

“Since March 20, the City has administered more than 2.5 million free tests. City sites offer free tests to anyone with or without symptoms and results are provided within 24-48 hours. More appointments are available for Angelenos needing a test: http://Coronavirus.LACity.org/Testing.”

Original post, Nov. 30: Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti was in the hot seat Monday night with more than few people on Twitter after it was reported that a COVID-19 testing location at Union Station will be shut down Tuesday to accommodate filming for the upcoming remake of “She’s All That.”

On Monday, people who had scheduled a COVID-19 test appointment for Tuesday, Dec. 1 at Union Station were notified via email that the appointments had been canceled due to an “event”. The email didn’t reveal the nature of the event, but it was reported by Deadline early Monday evening to be “He’s All That,” a remake of the 1999 film “She’s All That.”

No representatives for FilmLA, Miramax, which produces the film, or the office of the Mayor of Los Angeles immediately responded to requests for comment from TheWrap. But according to the Los Angeles Times, both Garcetti’s office and FilmLA say they were unaware that the filming would lead to the testing site being temporarily shut down.

Also Read: LA County Implements ‘Targeted’ Safer-at-Home Order Amid COVID Surge

FilmLA went further, telling LA Times: “All we know at this hour is that this decision wasn’t made by FilmLA or the City’s film permit approver LAPD, nor was it sought by the production company seeking to film at Union Station.”

On Monday night, a follow up statement was sent to people whose accounts were canceled by Andrea Garcia, Garcetti’s press secretary. In the statement, Garcia said that 504 people had scheduled appoints to be tested for the illness at the Union Station testing location, and their appointments would be honored at one of the 14 other testing sites. In addition, Garcia said “we are hoping to reopen the Union Station site’s operations tomorrow.”

“Earlier today we learned that our Union Station testing kiosk was unexpectedly closed in advance of tomorrow’s appointments. As soon as this was brought to our attention, we contacted the 504 people scheduled for a test on December 1st at Union Station to let them know that their appointment would be honored at any of the other 14 city testing locations, including another mobile testing site located at the North Hollywood Metro Station accessible by the Metro transit system,” Garcia’s statement said.

“In addition, we are hoping to reopen the Union Station site’s operations tomorrow. We remain committed to providing free tests and are scheduled to test more than 38,000 people tomorrow. We have administered more than 2.5 million tests to Angelenos since March 20. Our network of testing centers and mobile testing pop up facilities reaches the entire City of Los Angeles, and we will continue to monitor new surge areas to make sure obtaining a test is as easy as possible.”

Also Read: ‘Godzilla vs Kong’ vs COVID: Streamers Vie for Legendary’s Monster Movie

However, the hours-long delay between the news and any formal statement, and the fact that the shut down of a testing site was set to happen just one day after the start of a sweeping new stay-at-home order for Los Angeles county, had a lot of people calling Garcetti and the city of Los Angeles directly on Twitter. See a sampling below.

In the middle of a horrible and terrifying COVID spike, LA just cancelled all of its Dec 1 appointments at Union Station (one of the only transit-accessible facilities) with less than 24hrs notice because of A FILM SHOOT!! @MayorOfLA @metrolosangeles @lapublichealth WTF???!!??? pic.twitter.com/zwR36TH4G4

— Ktown for All 💜❤ (@KtownforAll) December 1, 2020

This is a telling paragraph. FilmLA not knowing about the test site is a major league fuckup. Locations probably should know, but honestly if they were just scouting a part of Union Station not near the site, it’s up to FilmLA and Union Station to make them aware. pic.twitter.com/sYJdGzkBlg

— Mike Lisboa (@MikeLisboa) December 1, 2020

Why did you allow the closure of one of the few public transit accessible covid test sites, Union Station, for a film shoot tomorrow? https://t.co/pASfKJNb8P

— Angie Vroom (@AngieVroom) December 1, 2020

Mark Waters has gone on a filmmaking journey that started with Parker Posey pretending to be Jackie O and has ended with some TikTok teens at Union Station cancelling medical testing amidst a pandemic pic.twitter.com/wRHNK1OvU0

— Spike Friedman (@SpikeFriedman) December 1, 2020

Multiple high schools in LA County held their senior proms at Union Station. Including mine. The place is huge, and it would be nice if the film crew could work out a shooting space that didn’t interfere with community COVID testing. https://t.co/GUsGIUQ9Tq

— ElectionBabe (@ElectionBabe) December 1, 2020

There are over 3k testing sites available. Cool. Ppl chose Union Station because it was accessible for them. Garcetti isn’t going to provide transport. Anyway, we didn’t ask for a She’s All That reboot. tf! LA needs to prioritize better. WE ARE SURGING! https://t.co/PJgEX88jxr

— Dr. Cancel ALL Student Debt (@4WheelWorkOut) December 1, 2020

More to come..

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