Hollywood’s Covid protocols have been extended until Jan. 31, 2023, per an agreement between the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers and Hollywood’s unions. The vaccination mandate, which gives employers the limited option to require Covid vaccinations as a condition of employment, will remain in place. This is the tenth time the return-to-work protocols have been extended or amended.
First adopted on September 21, 2020, the protocols enabled jobs and productions to rebound after an industry-wide lockdown early on in the pandemic.
The latest extension gives producers the option of less stringent Covid testing of cast and crew before each workday, and a higher threshold that would trigger increased masking requirements and more frequent testing if Covid hospitalizations rise. It also includes an additional six days of paid Covid sick days for industry workers who contract the virus.
In a joint statement, the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, the Teamsters and the Basic Crafts unions said that “The agreement maintains the multi-faceted approach that has kept the industry working safely since shortly after the onset of the pandemic. The extension maintains core protocols while permitting minor modifications reflecting improved conditions in most areas. In addition, the agreement again grants a bank of six additional sick days reflecting the shorter term of this extension.
“The new agreement requires the strictest protocols be implemented on productions occurring in any metropolitan area or county with 14 or more Covid-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 population. This is a reasonable and appropriate modification in the trigger given the current environment.
“The agreement also gives productions the option of a daily antigen testing regime for Zone A during a surge in which the production reverts back to the more stringent Part 1 mandatory protocols. Importantly, employers retain the right to adopt more stringent requirements regarding masking and testing on a production-by-production basis and to mandate that employees in Zone A be “up-to-date” on their vaccinations.” Zone A, where unmasked actors work, is the most restrictive of the safe work zones on sets.
The unions went on to say that “Other than these modifications, all other provisions remain in full force and effect. In all cases, the full set of stricter protocols will be reintroduced if there is a Covid-19 surge over the winter. The parties will continue closely monitoring Covid-19developments.”
The Basic Crafts unions include Teamsters Local 399, IBEW Local 40, LiUNA! Local 724, OPCMIA Local 755 and UA Local 78.