Coronavirus: Hollywood Unions Publish Guidelines for Productions

Hollywood
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Hollywood unions publish safety guidelines for TV shows and films

Hollywood union’s released a detailed Coronavirus COVID-19 guidelines for TV and films expected to follow in the next few months as the film industry returns to work after the pandemic related shutdown.

In the published report, titled “The Safe Way Forward,”  by the Directors Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, and the Teamsters, the unions have a list of requirements productions must follow that want to start filming again. These restrictions should last until there is a vaccine for COVID-19 or other medical breakthroughs, which would reduce fears of the Coronavirus pandemic.

A new on-set role of health safety supervisor will oversee the implementation of the guidelines. In addition, frequent testing will be required, creating of zones to provide protection to cast and crew who cannot social distance or wear protective equipment.

The new framework is expected to be implemented nationally but, according to the Los Angeles Times, it could take weeks before film production resumes following the release of these new guidelines.

Some of the guidelines and restrictions include the following:

  • Dedicated Hygiene Crew
  • Security Unit to keep outsiders from entering who do not have testing clearance
  • Consistent monitoring
  • No visitors
  • Background performers need larger holding areas

In regards to testing, the paper says “We believe strategic testing for the presence of COVID-19 is critical for a safe return to work. Without such testing, the entire cast and crew would be asked to work each day in an environment of unknown risk; a single confirmed case would lead to a quarantining of all who came into close contact with that person. This could potentially lead to shooting delays, and—should that person be a key actor/performer or director—to production shutdowns, not to mention the real possibility of illness and death. Our belief in regular, consistent testing is based on the best available public health science. ”

“People in the industry can take great comfort from the report,” said ​Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s chief operating officer and general counsel, who is leading the union’s safety and reopening initiative, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “What’s laid out here from our unions, representing the vast majority of people directly involved in production, are guidelines that we believe can be — and will be — practically implemented.”

It begs the question – how will producers handle the increased cost to film with these new guidelines? As we previously reported, background actors are concerned their careers will get killed off due to the Coronavirus guidelines, which encourage limiting hiring background actors and creating more elaborate facilities to keep talent. 

Sande Alessi is the extras casting director from many hit movies including the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and ‘Argo’. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she says, “Nobody wants what I’m selling,” she says. “Nobody wants human beings.”

Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released production guidelines following the March Coronavirus COVID-19 shutdown. The new production rules include frequent testing, stricter cleaning procedures, and social distancing. The guidelines released on the New York Governor’s website, reveals a long list of production safety precautions that are both mandatory and recommended.

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