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Netflix is making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory on its U.S. productions — at least in Zone A, the part of the set with actors.
The move makes the streamer the first major studio to institute a blanket vaccination policy. A source says Netflix is closely following the recently updated return-to-work protocols agreed upon by the guilds and studios, which say that the industry may mandate vaccinations in Zone A on a project-by-project basis.
The new standards were agreed on by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the industry’s top guilds, including SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, the DGA and the Teamsters. They also came to the consensus that they could ease current protocols for fully vaccinated cast and crew.
In keeping with the recommendations in the return-to-work guidelines, exemptions for medical, religious or age reasons may apply on Netflix sets. In addition, an insider says the streamer’s shows and films already in production may be able to continue on even if certain members of the production aren’t vaccinated, though those exceptions are expected to be rare.
Netflix’s decision to mandate the vaccine comes as the Delta variant, a more contagious strain of the virus, continues to spread. The uptick in cases has prompted new indoor mask mandates. It’s also led at least one high-profile actor to call for more stringent measures on set, as Sean Penn demanded last week that the cast and crew of his TV series Gaslit get vaccinated before returning to work.
In recent days, some local and national officials have required that their government employees be vaccinated, and President Joe Biden is expected to announced a mandate across the federal government as early as Thursday.
The Netflix news also follows a recommendation from the Writers Guild of America that those attending in-person writers rooms be fully vaccinated. They also noted that writers should be allowed to work remotely even if their room is operating on site.
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