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The Directors Guild of America, IATSE, International Brotherhood of Teamsters and SAG-AFTRA took their next step toward helping Hollywood resume production, safely, with the release of “The Safe Way Forward,” a multi-union 36-page report detailing safety guidelines in a pre-COVID-19 vaccine world.
Developed in consultation with leading epidemiologists and experts, the guidelines are a follow-up to the Industry White Paper that was presided to state governors on June 1. Today’s released report offers more details protocols in areas including mandatory testing, working in a “Zone” system, and the formation of a health and safety unit.
Mandatory testing is described as a “cornerstone” of a safe return to production. The report warns that without proper testing “the entire cast and crew would be asked to work each day in an environment of unknown risk; a single confirmed case would lead to a quarantining of all who came into close contact with that person. This could potentially lead to shooting delays, and—should that person be a key actor/performer or director—to production shutdowns, not to mention the real possibility of illness and death.”
A “Zone” system is part of implementing testing procedures: Zone A is a perimeter within which participants don’t use PPE or adhere to physical distancing–which in many cases is expected to refer to actors/performers; Zone B is the rest of the set’s footprint; Zone C refers to the outside world including cast and crew’s homes and hotels. Access to Zone A and B require testing, and in the case of Zone A, it’s recommended that testing occurs at least three times a week. It’s recommended that those who work in Zone B are tested at least once a week.
According to the report, consultants believe the current scarcity of testing “will soon be resolved,” but that the industry would monitor availability of testing and safety supplies and the impact of its testing practices. It states that “the volume of testing required will prompt a deeply critical analysis of who really needs to be in Zone A and how often.”
The recommendations in the report also call for the formation of a health and safety unit headed by a Health Safety Supervisor (referred to in the Industry White Paper as the “Covid-19 Compliance Officer”). There would also be a Health Safety Department, with a manager and staff. A Health Safety Unit Manager would oversee the execution of health and safety directives in conjunction with the directors’ team and other “relevant” department heads.
Other portions of the report call for a 10-hour shoot day, from crew call to camera wrap; remote working to reduce the number of people in an office; and video conferencing for meeting, casting and table reads.
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Lisa Marie Presley