SAG-AFTRA Says "Most" Productions Will Be on Hiatus Until Mid-January Amid Pandemic

SAG-AFTRA Building - H - 2020
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In the message posted Tuesday, the labor union emphasized the lack of ICU beds in California, particularly in Los Angeles County, and acknowledged a need for "immediate action."

SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris and national executive director David White on Tuesday posted a message to the labor union website with an update to COVID-19 filming protocols amid the current surge in cases.

"We are writing to let you know that we are closely monitoring the recent surge in COVID-19 infections along with the reported lack of intensive care unit (ICU) beds throughout the state of California and particularly in Los Angeles County," the note read, before acknowledging the concern and need to take immediate action.

"Most entertainment productions will remain on hiatus until the second or third week of January if not later," the message outlined. "This means that the number of our member performers working on sets right now is reduced. Our safety protocols ensure appropriate precautions for the holiday hiatus period including additional time for testing prior to the resumption of production."

The labor union will continue monitoring the situation in connection with public health officials. It urged all members to remain vigilant and "adhere to safety principles to protect yourselves, your families, communities and colleagues."

Along with the reminder to frequently wash hands and maintain social distancing, a link was given to SAG-AFTRA's list of COVID-19 safety tips.

Earlier on Tuesday, the regional stay-at-home order was extended in California, with no specific end date. Additionally, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Dec. 24 sent an update to local film industry members with a reminder to exercise caution and "strongly consider pausing work for a few weeks during this catastrophic surge in COVID cases."

FilmLA on Tuesday issued a media advisory detailing the availability of new permits when the new year begins, noting that the film industry is "highly invested" in efforts to control COVID-19 as demonstrated by the strict safety protocols that have been in place thus far.

According to L.A. Public Health, there are currently 12,979 new COVID-19 cases in L.A. County and at least 7,181 people hospitalized.