Hollywood’s unions have reached an agreement with management’s AMPTP on revised Covid-19 protocols. In a statement, the unions said that the new agreement “creates a more flexible set of protocols for areas of the United States and Canada with low Covid hospital admissions, while maintaining core elements to keep sets safe. The unions — SAG-AFTRA, the DGA, IATSE, the Teamsters and the Basic Crafts — said that the agreement was reached “with the continued commitment to keeping casts, crews and all set workers safe in light of the changing impact of Covid-19 .”
The modifications apply only to areas that have confirmed low Covid hospital admissions (such as Los Angeles), leaving largely in place the requirements for areas experiencing surging admission rates (potentially, New York). These workplace practices apply to both vaccinated and unvaccinated cast and crew.
Testing protocols are as follows: Pre-employment testing is still required of all crews, but with modifications to the types of tests allowed. Testing will still be required on an ongoing weekly basis during production for Zones A and B but reduced in frequency. Areas C and D do not require testing beyond pre-employment. Zone A, where unmasked actors work, is the most restrictive of the protocol’s safe work zones on sets.
Under the new guidelines, masking will not be required in most settings, with the specific exception of shuttle vans. Other changes include flexibility on meal service and rules relating to transportation.
The following current agreement conditions remain in place:
Vaccination: The new agreement continues to allow employers to mandate that employees in Zone A be “up to date” on their vaccinations, including a booster.
COVID Compliance Supervisor: Hiring of a dedicated COVID-19 compliance supervisor responsible for safety compliance and enforcement, who will be accessible to cast and crew at all times during working hours.
Quarantine Pay and Sick Leave: All employees will continue to receive 10 days of Covid paid sick leave, and the leave can be used for any of the eligible Covid events, such as testing positive, exhibiting symptoms, isolation or self-quarantines, or when a member of their household tests positive for Covid-19.
The agreement also allows employers to impose more stringent requirements regarding masking and testing as the production circumstances require.
The agreement will remain in effect through July 15, 2022. The unions said that they will continue to closely monitor Covid developments and will consider further modifications at that time.
First enacted in September 2020 after a months-long production shutdown, the unions said that the Covid safety agreement “is the outcome of unprecedented coordination and solidarity between the unions and collaboration with employers to develop science-based protocols that minimize the risk of Covid- 19 virus transmission in the industry’s unique work environments. Since that time, the protocols have driven a successful rebound of film and television production while prioritizing safety for casts, crews and all on-set workers.”