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On Wednesday, Tyler Perry sent out a 30-page document to his cast outlining in great detail how he plans to safely start production up again at his Atlanta studio in July amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The lengthy covenant is titled “Camp Quarantine,” as Perry has said that the cast and crew of his TV shows Sistas and The Oval will all stay on his sprawling Tyler Perry Studios campus in Georgia for the duration of filming in an effort to protect against contracting the novel coronavirus. The document reveals the specifics steps each individual will need to take to protect against the spread of the virus as they get back to work, something Perry has been leading the charge on.
First, the cast will be tested using the nasal swab method (97 percent accuracy) in their hometown 16 days before travel and then self-isolate for the remaining time before their travel date. They will then take private flights, arranged by Perry, to Atlanta, where the castmembers will then be tested again from the car using a 15-minute rapid test by Abbot Labs (85 percent accuracy).
Both the car drivers and the talent will wear face masks the entire time, and luggage will be sanitized before loading. Upon arriving in Atlanta, the cast will await shuttles that typically seat 25 people but, in an effort to keep people socially distanced, will only carry 10 individuals at a time. Once they make it to the studio, the castmembers will be retested using the nasal swab method, with crewmembers going through the same process. The testing will be administered by licensed medical staff provided by Emory Healthcare.
Cast and crew will be sequestered in their individual rooms until the test results come in, which will take approximately four to six hours. Anyone with a negative test result will not be allowed to leave their housing quarters until all cast and crew results have been confirmed. Once that happens and only those who tested negative are left, everyone will be able to venture outside their private rooms. For anyone who tests positive, strict guidelines will be followed in order to get the person medical attention and remove the person from campus immediately.
“Once inside the quarantine bubble, participants are not permitted to leave for the entire 14-day period,” reads the document. Face masks and social distancing will still be required at all times, with exceptions only for actors during filming and during hair and makeup as necessary. Cast and crew will also undergo additional PCR rapid testing four days from their check-in date to ensure the negative results that were previously reported. Exit testing via nasal swab will also be required upon an individual’s completion of a shoot.
The extensive document, included below, goes into greater detail about each of these steps, and also delves into specifics about the thorough on-set cleaning process, reimagined craft services and much more. Perry kicked off the PDF with a letter to his cast that acknowledges the passing of crewmember Charles Gregory Ross, who became sick with COVID-19 a few days after production wrapped and died a few weeks later, as well as the disproportionate impact the virus has had on the African American community. Read his note in full here:
I couldn’t start this letter without first saying that our hearts, souls and minds stand with all those who have lost loved ones during this challenging time in our world. I’d also like you know that we stand firmly with our frontline workers. They are the true superstars in all of this.
It seems that there isn’t a person on this planet that hasn’t been affected by COVID19 in some way. I know I have, at the beginning of this pandemic we lost an amazing crew member. His name is Charles Gregory Ross and he came down with symptoms a few days after wrapping on another production and died a few weeks later. He put a face to the horrors of this virus for me. As my crew and I had been working with him on and off for over 15 years, it affects us all deeply as you could imagine. It’s still hard to believe.
It is with that sobering reality and the understanding that African Americans are disproportionately affected by this virus in vast numbers, and also knowing that my cast and crew members are largely African American — that we came up with this plan to return to work safely.
I want it to be abundantly clear that there was no way I could or would consider putting people back to work without a plan that takes extreme measures to try and mitigate as much risk as possible in our productions, and I think we’ve managed to do just that.
It took a village of staff, medical doctors, epidemiologists, lawyers, union reps, talent and their reps, crew members, insurers, and a lot of other great thinkers to come up with this plan.
I have personally been in touch with union reps and they have let me know that there is a collective union and guild guideline plan that is coming soon. My team and I will gladly be sure to implement these updates into our existing plan when available.
What is most clear about this plan, is that the union and guild reps, myself and everyone else involved all want the same thing, and that is the safety of our cast and crew as we return to work. With that all said here, below is an overview of the plan. More extensive details may be found in the deck.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
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