Compulsory vaccinations against Covid-19 now an option on film and television productions – Deadline


2ND UPDATE with more details and reactions, 9:17 p.m.:: Mandatory vaccinations against Covid-19 on film and television productions will now be allowed, on a restricted basis, under a new agreement reached on Monday between Hollywood unions and large corporations. The new protocols, they said in a joint statement, will give producers “the ability to implement compulsory vaccination policies for actors and teams in zone A on a production-by-production basis.” Zone A, where unmasked actors work, is the most restrictive of the secure work zones on the sets.

Read below the summary of the changes that the DGA sent in a message to its members.

Last month, SAG-AFTRA passed tough new guidelines for employers that can make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory as a condition of employment.

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SAG-AFTRA presidential candidate Fran Drescher said tonight that she supports the new protocols. “Although vaccinations are a crucial part of reducing the Covid-19 virus, they are not 100% effective in preventing us from catching Covid or spreading it,” she said in a statement. “This is why hospital protocols continue to require masks and that all patients be tested for Covid, whether or not the patient was vaccinated prior to admission.

“We should all share the goal of eliminating Covid in this country. Until we do, it is critical to follow additional SAG-AFTRA safety protocols – such as mask wearing, testing, and physical distancing – especially as mask wear continues to occur. be enforced or encouraged in many areas as some experience epidemics and increased cases.

The SAG-AFTRA guidelines for employers requiring vaccinations, adopted on June 24, state that:

1. The production should announce these policies as soon as possible, preferably during the first blackouts or the first casting discussions.

2. These policies must also apply to all actors and teams working in the area (s) or workplaces concerned.

3. The production must have procedures in place to engage in an interactive process with those requesting the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) or religious accommodations, and must include the procedure for initiating a request in the notices of the vaccination policy.

4. Such policies can only be applied when vaccines have been readily available to performers for a period of time sufficient to confer immunity in time for the onset of labor.

5. If being vaccinated is a condition of employment for production, all vaccination costs are absorbed by the employer and vaccination time is working time.

6. Immunization records are kept safe by employers and accessible only to those who need them.

Anthony Rapp, Drescher’s running mate on the union’s Unite for Strength ticket, said: “I am deeply grateful to my union, SAG-AFTRA, for working with the DGA, IATSE and the Teamsters to ensure the safety of all actors and the team during this pandemic. These updated safety protocols reflect the latest and best findings from epidemiologists and current science, and will serve our members and our industry as we continue our return to work. “

Additional changes to protocols include frequency of testing for parts of the United States and Canada where the incidence of Covid-19 is and remains very low, as well as changes to exterior masking requirements and updated meal protocols. day.

The agreement, which will remain in effect until September 30, was originally concluded last September between the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers management and the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, Teamsters and Basic Crafts. In the meantime, they say, they “will continue to closely monitor developments in Covid-19 and consider other changes at that time.”

The protocols were established in September and were originally scheduled to expire on April 30, but were extended until June 30, and then extended again indefinitely on June 30 to give the parties “time” to reach a new deal. The IATSE has even postponed until next month the resumption of its separate negotiations with AMPTP for a new film and television contract in order to focus on return-to-work protocols.

The DGA summed up the agreement on Tuesday morning.

Regarding vaccinations, the DGA specifies that “producers must establish a means of clearly and visibly identifying the right of an employee to work according to the protocols for fully vaccinated people. Proof of vaccination can be established by 1) a digital vaccination card, a government approved passport system (for example, the New York Excelsior Pass), a system managed by the vaccination provider, or a system that verifies the status an individual in relation to government records; or 2) production of a physical vaccination record.

“Producers need to keep these documents safe and accessible only to those who need to know them. Employees who do not provide verification of their immunization status will be treated as not fully immunized. “

The summary also notes that “on a production-by-production basis, a producer may implement a policy that employees in Zone A will be fully vaccinated against Covid-10 as a condition of employment.

“To provide employees in Zone A who are currently vaccinated with sufficient time to be vaccinated, the agreement gives employees one week to make an vaccination appointment and receive their first vaccination, and six weeks from that date to. get their second vaccine (if needed) and complete the required withdrawal period. Currently unvaccinated Zone A employees who make their vaccination appointment and receive their first vaccination during that time will remain eligible for employment in productions that institute a mandatory vaccination policy while they complete the process to become fully vaccinated. Those who do not will be ineligible for use until they are fully vaccinated. “

Regarding tests and PPE, the DGA summary of the new agreement notes:

“For areas of outbreaks of Covid infections in the United States and Canada and in all regions outside of the United States and Canada, we have retained the existing testing requirements, although we have expanded the types of testing permitted in certain circumstances.

“The agreement eases mask requirements for fully vaccinated employees, allowing them to remove their masks when working outdoors. Employees who are not fully immunized should wear face masks at all times (except when eating, drinking, or when their duties prevent it).

“In addition, we have further relaxed the testing and PPE requirements for fully vaccinated employees when working in areas of the United States and Canada that have lower Covid-19 transmission and rates. new cases. Specifically, in these areas, fully vaccinated employees are not required to wear masks indoors as long as certain air filtration standards are met. Fully vaccinated employees, while undergoing periodic testing, will also be tested for Covid-19 at a reduced frequency. Those who are not fully vaccinated will continue to wear masks and maintain the same frequency of periodic testing as the previous Accord.

“Productions in a metropolitan area (or in the applicable county if there is no applicable metropolitan area) must follow standard protocols if for seven consecutive days: 1) its seven-day average transmission rate is equal to or greater than 1.1, and 2) the number of new daily cases per 100,000 is equal to or greater than 10. Production in areas with lower transmission rates and / or infection rates may apply the lowest standards. more relaxed; provided, however, that if the area records a higher transmission rate and daily new case rate than those listed above for seven consecutive days, standard protocols will be restored. “

The new agreement also created “a certain increased flexibility around land transport”, notes the summary of the DGA. “According to standard protocols, vaccinated and unvaccinated employees will now travel in separate vans. Vans for vaccinated employees can operate at full capacity. Vans for unvaccinated employees can operate at 1) 75% of capacity for trips between plateau and crew parking, lunch and base camp, 2) 50% of capacity for all others travel. In areas with low infection, previous occupancy limits have been lifted. In both cases, all employees must be masked. If someone is unmasked, physical distancing requirements apply. “

When it comes to meals, “individually wrapped or wrapped portions are no longer necessary. However, “buffet style” self-service catering services (for example, salad bars, food platters, or any catering service that requires employees to share utensils) will not be permitted for employees who are not fully immunized and employees who are not fully immunized should continue to maintain a physical distance from all employees throughout the meal period. “

The DGA told its members that “while we were hoping to further reduce many protocols, the increasing infection rates simply did not allow us to do so at this time. As we have been doing from the start, we have continued to rely on science with the aim of allowing production to continue while reducing the risk of transmission of Covid-19 on the set. “

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