Production Unions Strike a Deal to Resume Under COVID-19 Safety Regulations





After months of being shut down, film and TV production can finally resume thanks to new regulations set in place that Unions representing cast and crews have agreed to. The new system has been scientifically founded with safety measures to ensure less contact and minimize transmission of the coronavirus.

The system, based on “The Safe Way Forward” report released by unions back in June, utilizes social distancing, testing, personal protection equipment, and alphabetized Zones which will separate actors, cameramen, directors, and all other crew members as much as possible. People on-site will also be subjected to regular COVID testing, with actors and people who come in contact with actors (aka Zone A) required to be tested three times a week since they have the most physical and proximal contact and can’t adhere to social distancing while cameras are rolling.

This agreement protected by unions also guarantees 10 days paid leave to anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, as well as guarantees their job will be reinstated upon return. Any employees who are required by state law or otherwise to isolate themselves will receive quarantine pay.

These new negotiations took months of scientific planning and research to be put in place. Agreeing to the deal are the Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and the Basic Crafts and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

“This agreement establishes sensible, science-based protocols that allow members to return to doing the work they love while managing risk,” said Gabrielle Carteris, president of SAG-AFTRA. “I am grateful to our sister unions, who pulled together during this extended crisis, as well as to the studios for collaborating on this important issue.”

The go-ahead on production means 2021 won’t be a bust for new movies and TV show releases. Streamers are already beginning to feel the pinch with new projects left hanging high and dry mid-production. Disney+ had to reschedule releases like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier multiple times, and analysts say viewers burned through so much content on Netflix during the pandemic, it could cause the streamer up to 2 million subscribers quarterly over lack of new shows to watch. Back in March, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said they had enough content to last “over the next few months.” That was six months ago, so this green light on production is coming just in time when they and other streaming services probably need it most.

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