HOLLYWOOD (CNS) - Unions representing casts and crews today announced they have reached an agreement with the major studios on protocols to allow the entertainment industry to safely re-open.
The agreement calls for comprehensive, mandatory testing regimens, dedicated COVID-19 safety monitoring and enforcement, diligent use of personal protective equipment, quarantine pay and sick pay.
The testing regimen requires every member of the cast and crew to be tested before their first day of work to ensure they are not actively infected with the coronavirus.
The agreement creates a zone system regarding work areas on sets and production offices. Performers and those they come in close contact with will be required to be tested at least three times per week.
All other individuals in the production environment will utilize physical distancing and personal protective equipment. Those working on sets, but not when performers are present, must be tested at least once per week.
Workers in production areas other than the set, such as the production office, must be tested at a minimum of once every two weeks.
Remote workers associated with the production, but not working in the production environment will be tested prior to their first day of employment.
All employees will receive 10 days of COVID-19 paid sick leave, per producer. The leave can be used for any of the eligible COVID-19 events such as testing positive, exhibiting symptoms, isolation or self-quarantines, or when a member of their household tests positive for COVID-19.
Employees who go on COVID-19 sick leave will be reinstated once they have been cleared to return to work, so long as their position continues to exist.
With certain limited exceptions, employees who are required to quarantine or isolate at the request of an employer, or as required by local law, will receive quarantine pay.
The union who are signatories to the agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the major studios, are the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Directors Guild of America, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Hollywood Basic Crafts.
Thomas Schlamme, president of the Directors Guild of America, said reaching the agreement was “a long and complicated journey.''
Said IATSE President Matthew D. Loeb, “Though this process was not easy, unprecedented inter-union collaboration and unwavering solidarity enabled our unions to achieve strong COVID-19 protections that will translate into tangibly safer workplaces.''