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The industry groups that recommended a production pause amid California’s COVID-19 surge in early January have lifted it.
SAG-AFTRA, the Producers Guild of America and the Joint Policy Committee — the bargaining group that represents commercial advertisers and advertising agencies — have agreed that effective Feb. 1, filming is cleared to resume.
Their new recommendation comes weeks after most major studios had already resumed at least some of their productions and just days after California Governor Gavin Newsom lifted the state’s regional stay-at-home order.
The groups say that their recommendation is consistent with the expiration of the pause recommendation by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and the strengthening of a number of provisions of Appendix J to the Los Angeles County Health Order, including the elimination of testing exemptions for short duration productions.
Last week, the Department of Public Health updated its production guidelines. Those guidelines detailed that hired audiences are now limited to 50 people and must be actors or extras and not members of the general public, and that pre-employment PCR testing is required for all productions, in addition to weekly testing during production at minimum. In addition, the quarantine period for individuals who’ve been in close contact with someone who tested positive is now 10 days instead of 14, and hair and makeup artists on set must wear a face shield in addition to a face covering.
SAG-AFTRA, PGA and JPC add that film and television productions must continue to abide by the industry-issued COVID-safety protocols and monitor any further recommendations issued by the Public Health Department, should the pandemic worsen again. SAG-AFTRA and the JPC will move forward with reviewing commercial productions to help ensure that safety on set is maintained for members and industry personnel.
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