Hollywood’s unions have agreed to extend the film and TV industry’s current Covid-19 safety protocols until a new agreement can be reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. The protocols had been set to expire on Saturday. The extension was agreed to by the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, the Teamsters and the Basic Crafts.
In a joint statement, the unions said that “negotiations will continue next week regarding adjustments to a new Covid-19 Safety Agreement as we have not yet reached agreement with the AMPTP. The protocols in the current Agreement, which was previously scheduled to expire tomorrow, April 30, will remain in place until a new Agreement is reached.”
The protocols, which were established in September 2020, have enabled jobs and productions to rebound during the pandemic. They’d originally been set to expire on April 30, 2021, but were extended with no major modifications and contained all of the original agreement’s provisions, including strictly enforced testing regimens, physical distancing, Covid compliance officers, diligent use of personal protective equipment and a “Zone” system to ensure that different sections of productions are tightly controlled based on proximity to cast, who often can’t wear masks or maintain social distancing while working.
After vaccines became widely available, the protocols were amended last July to give producers “the option to implement mandatory vaccination policies for casts and crew in Zone A on a production-by-production basis.” Zone A, where unmasked actors work, is the most restrictive of the safe work zones on sets.
Set to expire again on October 31, the protocols were extended to January 15 with all the same mandates for testing, masking, quarantining and vaccinations “consistent with current CDC guidelines.” They were extended again last month until Feb. 13 and then again through April 30.