June 3, 2020
Hollywood, a major economic engine in the U.S., collectively submitted new safety protocols to state leaders in California and New York that would lead to resumption of film and TV productions in those states following shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Among the safety protocols recommended by entertainment business leaders and union officials were elimination of buffet-style food service, face masks to be worn by live audiences, and having a COVID-19 compliance officer on every set.
The guidelines were submitted to California Governor Gavin Newsom and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The new practices were outlined in a white paper produced by a labor-management safety task force that included the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the Teamsters, SAG-AFTRA, Directors Guild of America and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Studios involved in the effort included Amazon Studios, Apple Studios, CBS Studios, Columbia Pictures, Disney Television Studios, Fox Corporation, HBO, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount Pictures Corporation, Sony Pictures Television, Walt Disney Pictures and Warner Bros. Entertainment.
The task force recommended mandatory testing of cast and crew, including temperature screening and making sure PPE is provided. In the case of live shows, they would be permitted on case-by-case basis and provided audiences wear face coverings, follow six-foot social distancing guidelines and get screened for symptoms.
Other recommendations include organizing departments into smaller groups, staggering call times, and incorporating technologies such as remote monitoring in an effort to reduce how many people are on a set at a time.
The task force wrote in the report that it “…recognizes that many of the recommendations outlined in this document represent considerable changes in current workflows and processes. The recommendations will need to be applied to specific circumstances, and their application will need to be flexible, bearing in mind the utmost priority of safety considerations on production.”
*Photo credit: Tomasz Wozniak, Shutterstock.com
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