Lots of testing, protective gear, social distancing and coronavirus safety officers are at the heart of recommendations today from Disney, Netflix, CBS and other top studios, Hollywood’s leading guilds and producers to get the industry restarted from the pandemic that shut down production back in March.
“The Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force (the “Task Force”) respectfully submits the following guidelines for consideration and adoption for the resumption of motion picture, television, and streaming productions in an environment that minimizes the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19,” says a report for the governors of the states with the highest level of domestic film and TV production (READ THE REPORT HERE).
In that vein, the “Proposed Health and Safety Guidelines for Motion Picture, Television, and Streaming Productions During the COVID-19 Pandemic” document was sent to New York’s Andrew Cuomo and California’s Gavin Newsom on Monday by the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force via AMPTP.
“Limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” the report proclaims. “Cast and crew must practice physical distancing whenever possible,” it adds. “Regular, periodic testing of the cast and crew will be used to mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19,” the long-expected document also asserts. “As tests are developed and others become more accurate, the testing protocols shall also change.”
Perhaps most significantly, along with procedures of cleaning, protection and prevention that other industries have already began implementing as America reopens in phases and surges from the COVID-19 crisis, the recommendations want a whole new entity created for productions to ensure that safety is never compromised, at least in theory.
“An autonomous COVID-19 Compliance Officer(s) with specialized training and responsibility and authority for COVID-19 safety compliance and enforcement will be in the workplace to address issues as they arise,” the 22-page slide heavy offering declares. “COVID-19 safety plan oversight and enforcement shall be the principal responsibilities of the COVID-19 Compliance Officer(s), provided they may be assigned additional responsibilities related to workplace safety.”
Over a week after Gov. Newsom’s still unreleased production reopening plan was first set to be unveiled, there was no response from his Sacramento office today if they have received the White Paper from the Hollywood players. No word yet from back East if Gov. Cuomo’s folks have laid eyes on the report yet either.
As well as the state executives, the proposal is also going to regional officials and offices like the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. For all the hopes and plans in this report, it is expected that production in the coronavirus ravaged LA and NYC will need several more steps before anyone feels the time is right to head back on to a set yet.
With “special considerations” included for minors, animal performers, craft services making virtual writers’ room the new normal, avoiding location filming as much as possible and live studio audiences “discouraged,” the document was put together with input from the Walt Disney Pictures, Netflix, Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, Apple Studios, CBS Studios Inc., Amazon, Columbia Pictures, Disney Television Studios, Fox Corporation, HBO. HBO Max, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Television, and Warner Bros. Entertainment. The DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE (including the Art Directors Guild, the Costume Directors Guild) the Teamsters and others were deeply involved in the process and crafting of the recommendations.
What the governors and various state officials will do with this is now to be seen. “The ball is totally in their court,” one industry insider told Deadline today after the White Paper went out.
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