The entertainment industry took a huge hit when the coronavirus pandemic began to surge across the globe in March, and as Hollywood studios continue to report their losses, Tyler Perry is opening up about how his massive Georgia-based production company is staying afloat.
Back in May, the 50-year-old actor and producer released a 30-page memo detailing how cast and crews working at the Tyler Perry Studios campus in Atlanta would navigate work amid the global health crisis. He titled the document "Camp Quarantine."
In a recent interview with WSVN 7 in Miami, Fla., Perry recalled how the pandemic affected his workspace and what measures have been put in place to allow his team to still work. It turns out his description of providing a "camp" for his staff hasn't changed.
“I was all ready to go. It was March 16. I’m watching, I’m reading, I’m paying attention to all this happening with the numbers, and I go, ‘OK, we have to shut down,'" Perry recalled to the outlet.
Just a "few weeks" later, however, Perry said he was determined to get his business back off the ground.
For starters, Perry said he's flown in his crew members to Atlanta on private jets. The cast and crew then undergo COVID-19 testing every four days and masks are mandatory with the exception of filming scenes.
The mega studio, which sits on 330 acres, has access to thousands of tests, Perry said. There, the staff lives on campus for two weeks.
The expense of keeping his studio running with the new procedures in place comes with an $18 million price tag, the outlet reports.
“So masks work. They, absolutely, masks work, and testing works, contact tracing works. We were able to manage it just doing that: testing, isolation and contact tracing," Perry explained.
Perry added that if it gets to a point where nearby facilities, such as nursing homes, are impacted by a shortage of masks then he would close up shop.
“Let’s be clear about what we’re doing here. I’m trying to have people protect them, keep their lives, to help the healthy and safe, but also to protect their livelihood," he said. "And that is not as important as people out in nursing homes and other places trying to get COVID tests. If that happens, we would step back and shut down, because the important thing is that people are able to get the testing that they need.”
Additionally, Perry is running his studio with the notion that mental health is just as much a priority as physical health. He offers cast and crew members virtual yoga and online church services.