Locked-down Liverpudlians slam government rules that let Batman keep filming in city

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Filming of The Batman continued in Liverpool today despite the imminent ‘Tier Three’ lockdown, as locals questioned why Hollywood appears exempt from coronavirus restrictions.

Robert Pattinson and Colin Farrell, who will play Bruce Wayne and the villainous Penguin respectively, were both on set this morning as the council insisted the new rules, set to devastate a host of businesses, would not impact on filming in the city.

Despite pledges that Covid-safe measures have been outlined and there is pressure to make sure they are being followed, including crew wearing face coverings, many expressed concern over the apparent lack of social distancing during the filming. 

Boris Johnson yesterday announced that Liverpool had reached a local Covid alert level of ‘very high’, with a number of rules designed to limit further spread of the virus set to come into force from tomorrow. 

Guidance on the government website explaining the changes does not directly reference the film industry, only advising ‘closing performing arts venues for the purposes of performing to audiences’, suggesting no concerns over filming for projects such as Matt Reeves’ multi-million-pound blockbuster. 

While bosses could not comment on The Batman specifically, a spokeswoman for Liverpool City Council insisted the show must go on in terms of filming generally, despite concerns from locals and suggestions of hypocrisy when dozens of other workplaces are being ordered to close.

She told MailOnline: ‘The new restrictions in Liverpool will not impact on filming in the city. 

‘The Film Office are working closely with every single production to ensure covid-safe measures are in place and are being adhered.’

The ongoing filming left many Liverpudlians confused and frustrated, as they took to social media to voice their concerns.

One wrote: ‘There were hundreds in Liverpool today filming the new Batman movie, no masks, no social distancing; this is perfectly acceptable yet we can’t get married, go to a funeral or visit a relative in a care home!’ 

Colin Farrell was once again involved in filming of The Batman in Liverpool today, despite the imminent 'Tier Three' lockdown

Colin Farrell was once again involved in filming of The Batman in Liverpool today, despite the imminent ‘Tier Three’ lockdown

Robert Pattinson, who will play Bruce Wayne, was also on set this morning as the council insisted the new rules, set to devastate a host of businesses, would not impact on filming in the city

Robert Pattinson, who will play Bruce Wayne, was also on set this morning as the council insisted the new rules, set to devastate a host of businesses, would not impact on filming in the city

Robert Pattinson, who will play Bruce Wayne, was also on set this morning as the council insisted the new rules, set to devastate a host of businesses, would not impact on filming in the city

Despite pledges that Covid-safe measures have been outlined and there is pressure to make sure they are being followed, including crew wearing face coverings, many expressed concern over the apparent lack of social distancing during the filming

Despite pledges that Covid-safe measures have been outlined and there is pressure to make sure they are being followed, including crew wearing face coverings, many expressed concern over the apparent lack of social distancing during the filming

Despite pledges that Covid-safe measures have been outlined and there is pressure to make sure they are being followed, including crew wearing face coverings, many expressed concern over the apparent lack of social distancing during the filming

Guidance on the government website explaining the changes does not directly reference the film industry, only advising 'closing performing arts venues for the purposes of performing to audiences', suggesting no concerns over filming for projects such as Matt Reeves' multi-million-pound blockbuster

Guidance on the government website explaining the changes does not directly reference the film industry, only advising 'closing performing arts venues for the purposes of performing to audiences', suggesting no concerns over filming for projects such as Matt Reeves' multi-million-pound blockbuster

Guidance on the government website explaining the changes does not directly reference the film industry, only advising ‘closing performing arts venues for the purposes of performing to audiences’, suggesting no concerns over filming for projects such as Matt Reeves’ multi-million-pound blockbuster

Flowers on the set during the filming of The Batman taking place in Liverpool on Tuesday

Flowers on the set during the filming of The Batman taking place in Liverpool on Tuesday

Flowers on the set during the filming of The Batman taking place in Liverpool on Tuesday

Another questioned: ‘Wonder if they’ll stop filming Batman (with their hundreds of extras in Liverpool now it’s in tier 3 lockdown…or is it just small businesses affected?’

A third added: ‘They shouldn’t be there in the first place. We’re in tier 3 lockdown so if the government want us to follow the rules Hollywood actors and the crew should also be following the rules and technically shouldn’t be filming in Liverpool whilst in lockdown. Batman can suck it.’

The new rules mean people will only be allowed out of ‘Tier Three’ areas for essential travel such as for work, education or health, and must return before the end of the day – although the rules will be guidance rather than legally enforced. 

They cannot mix with other households in gardens, but can in outdoor public spaces subject to the Rule of Six. 

Restaurants will be allowed to open, but only in line with the national curfew, and can serve alcohol as long as someone is having a ‘substantial’ meal, according to No10. 

Where businesses are forced to shut, the Government will pay two thirds of each employee’s salary, up to a maximum of £2,100 a month. Mr Johnson said the total support on offer would be around £1billion. 

Liverpool is the only area in the top bracket so far, and the city is going further than the basic restrictions by closing leisure centres, gyms, betting shops and casinos. Mr Johnson hinted last night that other hotspots were resisting, swiping that failing to agree to crackdowns would be ‘unforgivable’.

One frustrated social media user wrote: 'There were hundreds in Liverpool today filming the new Batman movie, no masks, no social distancing; this is perfectly acceptable yet we can't get married, go to a funeral or visit a relative in a care home!'

One frustrated social media user wrote: 'There were hundreds in Liverpool today filming the new Batman movie, no masks, no social distancing; this is perfectly acceptable yet we can't get married, go to a funeral or visit a relative in a care home!'

One frustrated social media user wrote: ‘There were hundreds in Liverpool today filming the new Batman movie, no masks, no social distancing; this is perfectly acceptable yet we can’t get married, go to a funeral or visit a relative in a care home!’

Another questioned: 'Wonder if they'll stop filming Batman (with their hundreds of extras in Liverpool now it's in tier 3 lockdown...or is it just small businesses affected?'

Another questioned: 'Wonder if they'll stop filming Batman (with their hundreds of extras in Liverpool now it's in tier 3 lockdown...or is it just small businesses affected?'

Another questioned: ‘Wonder if they’ll stop filming Batman (with their hundreds of extras in Liverpool now it’s in tier 3 lockdown…or is it just small businesses affected?’

A third added: 'They shouldn't be there in the first place. We're in tier 3 lockdown so if the government want us to follow the rules Hollywood actors and the crew should also be following the rules and technically shouldn't be filming in Liverpool whilst in lockdown. Batman can suck it'

A third added: 'They shouldn't be there in the first place. We're in tier 3 lockdown so if the government want us to follow the rules Hollywood actors and the crew should also be following the rules and technically shouldn't be filming in Liverpool whilst in lockdown. Batman can suck it'

A third added: ‘They shouldn’t be there in the first place. We’re in tier 3 lockdown so if the government want us to follow the rules Hollywood actors and the crew should also be following the rules and technically shouldn’t be filming in Liverpool whilst in lockdown. Batman can suck it’

How England breaks down in new COVID tiers 

TIER THREE – VERY HIGH RISK

Liverpool City Region 

Liverpool, Knowsley, Wirral, St Helens, Sefton, Halton 

TIER TWO – HIGH RISK 

Cheshire 

Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East 

Greater Manchester 

Manchester, Bolton, Bury, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, Salford, Rochdale, Oldham, 

Warrington

Derbyshire 

High Peak – the wards of Tintwistle, Padfield, Dinting, St John’s – Old Glossop, Whitfield, Simmondley, Gamesley, Howard Town, Hadfield South, Hadfield North 

Lancashire 

Lancashire, Blackpool, Preston, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley 

West Yorkshire

Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale, Wakefield South

Yorkshire

Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster, Sheffield 

North East 

Newcastle, South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland, Durham, Northumberland

Tees Valley 

Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington, Hartlepool 

West Midlands

Birmingham, Sandwell, Solihull, Wolverhampton, Walsall

Leicester

Leicester, Oadby and Wigston 

Nottingham

Nottinghamshire, Nottingham City

TIER ONE – MEDIUM RISK

Rest of England 

It was revealed last week that filming had started on the highly anticipated movie, after the cinema release date was delayed until 2022 due to fears over the pandemic. 

Warner Bros. vans have been spotted in the city centre as workmen hauled props into St George’s Hall. 

Filming for the £100million movie is expected to last around a week with roughly 100 actors and crew sticking to strict quarantining rules.

Before relocating to Liverpool to shoot for the blockbuster, production workers were working in the relatively low risk COVID-19 area of Leavesden in Hertfordshire.

One insider told MailOnline: ‘Quite a few of us are surprised to say the least that around 100 people based in a film studio in Hertfordshire are being asked to go to a high risk area in the North West. 

‘However to be fair to the production company they do test for coronavirus.

‘We have been told it is strictly work, eat and sleep. We even have to eat meals alone in our hotels rooms. Despite it being a Hollywood film, it is not exactly glamorous.’

Last week, studio workers were seen erecting the set at St George’s Hall which will double as Gotham City Hall. 

A sign which read ‘City Hall’ could be seen in the entrance to St George’s and an old fashioned red and white car was parked nearby.

 One worker said at the time: ‘It’s just prep work at the moment. We certainly haven’t seen Robert Pattinson or anyone else yet but it will start very soon.’  

The Batman is the latest blockbuster to be delayed because of coronavirus, raising fresh doubts over the future of hundreds of UK cinemas.

Last Monday, Warner Brothers said it would push back the release of the superhero epic, starring Twilight actor Robert Pattinson, from October 2021 until spring 2022.

It also revealed that sci-fi film Dune, has been postponed from December to October next year. Cinemas now face an existential threat from a drought of big releases.

On Monday Cineworld shut all its 128 UK cinemas, putting 5,500 jobs at risk, until the spring after the release of the latest James Bond movie, No Time to Die, was postponed.

Odeon has said it will only open 30 of 120 sites at weekends. Social distancing coupled with people’s fears of catching the virus mean most viewers are staying at home.

Tenet, directed by Christopher Nolan, took $300million (£228million) – much less than his previous film Dunkirk, which took £400million.

The subdued response spooked executives and sparked a rash of postponements.

Warner Bros. has been approached for comment on the ongoing filming. 



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