HOLLYWOOD HILLS—The Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers and other Hollywood unions announced on Thursday, January 26, they will be extending their COVID-19 safety protocols until April 1, 2023. The protocols were set to expire on January 31. 

The unions wrote in a statement:

“The new agreement maintains the bedrock principles and practical approaches that have kept the industry working safely since shortly after the onset of the pandemic. This extension maintains core protocols in case the current situation rapidly changes while permitting additional modifications reflecting improved conditions in most areas.

Specifically, there are no changes to Part 1 of the agreement, which requires the strictest protocols be implemented on productions occurring in any metropolitan area or county with 14 or more Covid-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 population. At this time, most production areas are working under Part II of the agreement or expected to be shortly, however, should conditions change with a new surge in cases, the proven effective stronger protocols would be required.

The new agreement has the following two specific modifications to Part II, which are the protocols most productions are working under currently. For Zones B & C pre-employment testing is no longer required. Additionally, weekly testing is no longer required for employees in Zone B, however, if an employee in Zone B (or C) has come into close contact with an individual who has tested positive for Covid-19, the Producer is required to make a Covid-19 test available to the employee upon the employee’s request. There are no changes in the agreement regarding Zone A testing.

In addition, the agreement grants a bank of five additional sick days and no longer requires the Covid Compliance Supervisor to be physically present on the production, provided that a member of the compliance team is accessible at all times during working hours.

Other than these modifications, all other provisions remain in full force and effect. In all cases, the full set of stricter protocols will be reintroduced if there is a Covid-19 surge. The parties will continue closely monitoring COVID-19 developments.”

The agreement reflects science-based protocols that minimize the risk of COVID virus transmission across the industry’s unique work environments. 

The mandate is “subject to reasonable accommodations as required by law for individuals who cannot be vaccinated due to disability or a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance.” Many vaccination-mandate opponents say that those exceptions are too rarely allowed.

SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher wrote in the latest issue of SAG-AFTRA Magazine, “I continue to fight on behalf of our members who feel discriminated against because of the Covid unvaccinated or un-boosted status, which is keeping them from working in major studio productions. For those members not being fairly considered by studios with regards to their religious or health exemptions, help is on the way!” 

Unions involved in this matter include DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Teamsters Local 399, IBEW Local 40, LiUNA! Local 724, OPCMIA Local 755 and UA Local 78.