Hollywood’s unions signed off today on an agreement to extend the film and TV industry’s Covid protocols through September. “It is a straightforward extension through September 30, 2022, with two minor updates to transportation van capacity and meal service,” said a source familiar with the agreement.
This is the eighth time the protocols have been extended or amended since they were first adopted on September 21, 2020, per an agreement between the AMPTP and Hollywood’s unions – the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, the Teamsters and the Basic Crafts.
“The Agreement keeps in place the workplace protocols and protections that have allowed for a sustained and successful return to work while at the same time allowing flexibility to address the changing nature of the virus,” the DGA said in a statement posted on its website. “Right now, because of the recent surge, productions in all major production centers are implementing the stronger protocols in Part 1 of the Agreement. As conditions change, the Agreement provides productions the ability to relax protocols in areas when they experience low Covid hospital admissions.”
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With respect to van capacity, the new rules state: “When transportation is provided by the Producer, it may operate at full capacity. At all times while in transit, cast and crew must wear face masks. If any vehicle contains a passenger who is not wearing a face mask (e.g., a cast member whose make-up has been applied), passengers shall observe physical distancing,”
With respect to food service, the latest modifications provide that “self-serve food service that requires employees to share utensils such as serving spoons or tongs will not be permitted for food service to employees who are not fully vaccinated. Compliance with the foregoing satisfies any obligations under the collective bargaining agreements to provide a meal to employees. Producers shall not be required to provide employees with a hot meal.”
Other than that, all the old rules still apply. See the protocols here.
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The protocols enabled jobs and productions to rebound after an industry-wide lockdown early on in the pandemic. They’d originally been set to expire on April 30, 2021, but were extended with no major modifications and contained all of the original agreement’s provisions, including strictly enforced testing regimens, physical distancing, Covid compliance officers, diligent use of personal protective equipment and a “Zone” system to ensure that different sections of productions are tightly controlled based on proximity to cast, who often can’t wear masks or maintain social distancing while working.
They were extended again on June 30, 2021, and were amended three weeks later to give producers “the option to implement mandatory vaccination policies for casts and crew in Zone A on a production-by-production basis.” Zone A, where unmasked actors work, is the most restrictive of the safe work zones on sets.
They were extended again on November 11, January 24, February 16, April 29 and May 6.
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