Entertainment Industry Reveals New Coronavirus Production Guidelines

Lizzy Buczak
June 03, 2020 - 4:40 pm

TV show and movie sets are going to look a bit different when production picks back up following the coronavirus shutdowns.

With stay-at-home orders being lifted in many states, Hollywood has announced new guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety.

Union officials representing actors, directors, and crew worked alongside the Industry-Wide Labor Management Safety Committee Task, per CNN, to come up with a detailed 22-page document outlining new safety protocols they plan to implement on sets moving forward. The guidelines have been submitted to health officials in New York and California.

“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,” actors union SAG-AFTRA said in a statement to governors of California and New York, per the Los Angeles Times. It encompasses the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the Teamsters, SAG-AFTRA, Directors Guild of America, Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, among others

The guidelines include extensive testing of cast and crew, temperature checks, and increased cleaning measures.

Actors and performers will require more frequent testing since they cannot “wear PPE [personal protective equipment] when cameras are rolling, and frequently will not be able to engage in physical distancing."

Writing and casting is encouraged to be done virtually if possible.

Live studio audiences are discouraged at this time, but will be considered case by case. In the case that there are studio audiences, they will be required to practice proper social distancing, undergo screenings, and wear face coverings.

Catering is also undergoing some changes as buffet-style food service will no longer be allowed.

Additionally, a COVID-19 compliance officer will be required on every set.

Variety noted that the report did not address how “conducting extensive testing, cleaning and safety monitoring will be covered, and who will pay for it” despite specifying that equipment be provided to cast and crew at “no cost.”

While it’s unclear when productions will be able to resume, many networks have been forced to come up with alternative plans for the fall TV season. The CW acquired previously produced programs from streaming and postponed all new seasons of its primetime shows to premiere in 2021.

FOX’s pandemic-proof lineup consists largely of sports and animated shows.

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