Hollywood studios and labor unions have revealed their official blueprint of recommended guidelines that are intended to help get movie and TV productions back up and running again. The vast majority of productions have been shut down since mid-March in the interest of public health. Now, a 22-page document lays out clearly how the studios intend to return to work as safely as possible.
The "white paper" was sent to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and California Governor Gavin Newsom, as well as the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The document was put together by The Industry-Wide Labor Management Safety Committee Task Force, which is made up of production companies, unions and guilds to provide governments. The task force was put together by the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee, which handles safety and training issues related to production. Around 50 members were included in the task force. One of the biggest points of emphasis was the need for regular testing to ensure cast and crew members aren't coming to work sick.
"Employers will utilize current effective testing protocols that must be developed in conjunction with, and approved by, the Unions and Guilds. Employers, Unions and Guilds shall rely upon medical experts for advice and guidance. As tests are developed and others become more accurate, the testing protocols shall also change."
Aside from the testing, cast and crew will be subject to daily symptom monitoring as well, which may include surveys and temperature checks, among other measures. Sanitation measures will also be implemented. But aside from testing, physical distancing and limiting contact whenever possible was the other major recommendation in the document.
"Cast and crew must practice physical distancing whenever possible. Physical distancing involves maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from any other person at all times, except when doing so is incompatible with one's job duties. Cast and crew should avoid congregating in groups. When practical, separate work locations into zones to facilitate physical distancing."
One of the biggest takeaways is the recommendation that independent experts, Compliance Officers, will be implemented. They will be tasked with "overseeing and monitoring physical distancing, testing, symptom monitoring, disinfecting protocols, and PPE education, protocols and adherence," as well as other duties that are determined by the employer. In this case, the studios. The Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) had this to say about it.
"This document is an initial set of principles and guidelines that we all agree form a relevant and realistic first step to protecting cast and crew in the reopening of the entertainment and media industry in its two largest markets. As we have reported previously, our draft protocols are being developed with advice and input from our epidemiologist and industrial sanitation experts, with guidance from member leaders, staff, our fellow unions and labor relations and sanitation officials. Our protocols will be completed and released in the coming days."
Looking at the big picture, it is inescapably clear that when productions do resume, they will be radically different than they were just a few months ago. It is also obvious that these guidelines will be expensive to implement, which could inflate budgets on productions. That is another hurdle that will need to be cleared so that movie and TV productions can press on. This news was previously reported by Variety.