Filming of the third season of USA Network’s “Temptation Island” on Maui has been postponed amid concerns of the coronavirus pandemic as daily counts continue in the triple digits.
“This is not the right time,” said Maui Mayor Michael Victorino at a virtual news conference held Thursday with Gov. David Ige and Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami.
Though the reality show had received approval months ago by the Hawaii State Film Commission to begin filming on Maui starting Sept. 23, the recent spike in coronavirus cases prompted Victorino and producers to postpone production to a later date.
At the news conference, Victorino said he would support production resuming when daily coronavirus counts drop and stabilize. He also plans to establish a group comprised of businesses and members in the nonprofit and private sectors to ensure the community is involved in the process when filming proceeds.
Ige shared the mayor’s sentiment on delaying production. “We do believe the virus activity causes a concern for all of us. It’s in everyone’s best interest to stop production for a period of time, but we all look forward to the day when the coronavirus counts are contained again and we can look forward to beginning a production with the safety protocols in place for both residents and those who may be traveling to do the production,” he said.
“Temptation Island” has filmed two seasons on Maui and was slated to film its third season in September. Filming was to take place for about a month. The reality show was to be the first major film production in Hawaii since the COVID-19 outbreak started.
Approximately 18 crew members were to arrive on Maui on Sunday to begin pre-production work before Victorino announced his decision to postpone filming.
Rumors of 100 out-of-state crew members to land on Maui over the weekend had caused a stir in the community.
In an effort to quell any misconceptions, Hawaii State Film Commissioner Donne Dawson asserted filming for the first three weeks will be confined to the hotel property at Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, where cast and crew would quarantine throughout that time period. There will be no interface with the Maui community for the first three weeks, she said.
The state’s mandatory travel quarantine for all out-of-state travelers is 14 days.
Dawson said production went “above and beyond” to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the show. Out-of-state cast and crew would undergo pre-arrival and post-arrival testing. Weekly polymerase chain reaction testing for all workers will be conducted as well as temperature taking daily.
The film industry compiled a 37-page handbook titled “The Safe Way Forward” of guidelines based on consultations from infectious disease specialists and epidemiologists.
Dawson said “Temptation Island,” as well as other productions filmed in the state, will adhere to the guidelines, which include regular testing, designated work zones to ensure physical distancing and dedicated sanitizing crew. A health safety team to screen for any COVID-19 exposure also will be on-site at all times.
Ige said, “Clearly, the industry is fully aware of COVID-19 and have put in place protocols that protect employees, those involved with the filming as well as the broader community.”
With the coronavirus pandemic significantly impacting tourism in Hawaii with the ongoing travel quarantine and reinstituted partial closures of all beaches and parks on Oahu, Dawson said the film industry would be a step to help restart the economy.
“Temptation Island” is set to hire 80 to 100 Hawaii residents and 75 hotel workers for the production. Victorino pointed out production for the reality show is not part of the “resort travel bubble” concept.
Tuia’ana Scanlan, president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 665, which represents approximately 550 technicians, artists and others, said approximately 50 union members were gearing to travel to Maui soon to begin work. “They were really looking forward to it. This kind of makes of breaks their year.”
In addition to the impact on workers, it affects their families in ways such as access to health care, Scanlan added.
He assured there were no plans for 200 people to show up for production all at once. “It would be a scheduled separation of duties,” Scanlan said.
Filming for the third season of “Magnum P.I.” is set to begin on Oahu in the latter part of September. Dawson said no delays are anticipated in production, with stringent safety guidelines and medical monitoring to take place daily throughout production.