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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Film Industry Extends Covid Protocols Through Feb. 13

Studios and entertainment industry guilds have agreed to extend Covid-19 work protocols as the omicron variant surge threatens to delay film and television production.  

Along with a number of other guilds including the Screen Actor’s Guild and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the Director’s Guild of America told its members Jan. 24 that the return-to-work agreement first released in July 2020 with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP) was extended past its previous expiration date of Jan. 15 to Feb. 13.  
 
The original agreement created zone-based protocols involving vaccines, personal protective equipment and quarantining based on proximity to principal creatives such as lead cast members. Originally set to expire Sept. 30, 2021, the protocols were first extended through January in an agreement the studios and guilds made through the AMPTP. The additional time provided by the latest extension will be used to determine when and if protocols should be adjusted to accommodate for omicron and other potential Covid-19 variants that may follow.
 
Los Angeles-based permit and production planning organization FilmLA told Variety in December that nearly two dozen shoots were rescheduled at the end of 2020 because of a Covid-19 surge, but President Paul Audley told the Business Journal Jan. 20 that end-of-year shutdowns that traditionally occur over the holidays might have helped prevent potential outbreaks as omicron has continued to cause record numbers of infections, even among individuals who are vaccinated and boosted.
 
“The department of public health is saying that we seem to have plateaued and, therefore, they anticipate that they'll start seeing cases drop, so what we are looking at and what we're hearing from our production companies is that we should see a similar pattern, which is they're gonna come back — but not all at once,” Audley said. “It won't be like the dam broke and everything happens all at once, but we may see the same pattern this year where a slow start and then exploding again as we get through the year more and hopefully out of this variant.”

Todd Gilchrist
Todd Gilchrist
Todd Gilchrist is a Los Angeles-based reporter and film critic with 20+ years of experience at dozens of print and online outlets, including Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly and Fangoria. An obsessive soundtrack collector, sneaker aficionado and member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Todd currently lives in Silverlake, California with his amazing wife Julie, two cats Beatrix and Biscuit, and several thousand books, vinyl records and Blu-rays.

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