Hollywood Unions Announce Modified COVID-19 Safety Agreement

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Hollywood Unions Announce Modified COVID-19 Safety Agreement

The Hollywood unions announced this evening that they have agreed to relax some COVID-19 protocols where there are particularly low hospitalization rates, and with the AMPTP have modified the ongoing COVID-19 Safety Agreement.

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Photo by Troy Harvey/ABC
By Errol Lewis 1 Comment
Courtesy of DGA; SAG-AFTRA; IATSE; Teamsters

The DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, Teamsters and the Hollywood Basic Crafts unions announced this evening a revised agreement with the AMPTP which modifies the current COVID-19 Safety Agreement that has been in place since September 2020. 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 organizations say. Additionally, the modifications apply only to areas that have confirmed low COVID hospital admissions, leaving largely in place the requirements for areas experiencing surging admission rates. These new 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. Zones C and D do not require testing beyond pre-employment.
  • Masking will not be required in most settings, with the specific exception of shuttle vans. 
  • Additional modifications include flexibility on meal service and rules related 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-19 paid sick leave, and the leave can be used for any of the eligible COVID-19 events (e.g. testing positive, exhibiting symptoms, isolation or self-quarantines, or when a member of their household tests positive for COVID-19).

The agreement allows employers to impose more stringent requirements regarding masking and testing as the production circumstances require and will remain in effect through July 15, 2022. The parties will continue closely monitoring COVID-19 developments and will consider further modifications at that time.

“The COVID-19 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,” the group notes. “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.”

The agreement is between the AMPTP and the Hollywood unions which includes the Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and the Hollywood Basic Crafts, (Teamsters Local 399, IBEW Local 40, LiUNA! Local 724, OPCMIA Local 755 and UA Local 78) and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).

Currently “General Hospital” is the only daytime drama series to officially have a vaccine mandate in place via The Walt Disney Company’s corporate mandate.

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