SAG-AFTRA and IATSE, along with the DGA, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and the Hollywood Basic Crafts, (Teamsters Local 399, IBEW Local 40, LiUNA! Local 724, OPCMIA Local 755 and UA Local 78) have just announced the extension of the COVID-19 Safety Agreement through Jan. 31, 2023.
The agreement maintains the multi-faceted approach that has kept the industry working safely since shortly after the onset of the pandemic. The extension maintains core protocols while permitting minor modifications reflecting improved conditions in most areas. In addition, the agreement again grants a bank of six additional sick days reflecting the shorter term of this extension.
The new agreement 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. This is a reasonable and appropriate modification in the trigger given the current environment.
The agreement also gives productions the option of a daily antigen testing regime for Zone A during a surge in which the production reverts back to the more stringent Part 1 mandatory protocols.
Importantly, employers retain the right to adopt more stringent requirements regarding masking and testing on a production-by-production basis and to mandate that employees in Zone A be “up-to-date” on their vaccinations.
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 over the winter. All parties will continue closely monitoring COVID-19 developments.
First enacted in September 2020 after a months-long production shutdown, the COVID-19 Safety Agreement is the outcome of unprecedented coordination and solidarity between the unions and collaboration with employers. The agreement reflects science-based protocols that minimize the risk of COVID-19 virus transmission across the industry’s unique work environments. The protocols have driven a successful rebound of film and television production while prioritizing safety for casts, crews, and all on-set workers.