DGA Says Industry’s Covid-19 Protocols “Have Been Largely Effective”, Though Holiday Production Hiatus May Continue As Pandemic Peaks In L.A.

The Directors Guild of America told its members Tuesday that the industry’s Covid-19 protocols “have been largely effective in catching infected individuals before they are contagious, and limiting the potential spread on set.” Still, the DGA said it is working with employers who wish to extend their year-end holiday hiatus while the pandemic peaks in Southern California and across the country.

In late December, the L.A. County Department of Public Health urged the film and TV industry “to strongly consider pausing work for a few weeks during this catastrophic surge in Covid cases.” Most entertainment productions have since indicated they would remain on hiatus in Southern California until the second or third week of January, if not later.

Here’s the DGA’s latest communique with its members today:

The DGA continues to keep a very close eye on Covid-19 developments in our ongoing efforts to keep members protected. From working with leading scientists, our sister unions and industry employers on the development of stringent return-to-work testing and protocols announced in the fall, to negotiating adjustments to address increased Covid-19 risk during the holidays, our goal has always been to minimize the risk of workplace exposure for our members and all workers on set. The data so far has indicated that these protocols have been largely effective in catching infected individuals before they are contagious, and limiting the potential spread on set.

But as the situation around us changes, we continue our diligent work to keep members protected. We’ve long anticipated that there would be this post-holiday spike in community Covid-19 infections, which is why, prior to Thanksgiving, we negotiated an agreement providing employers with flexibility and economic incentive to increase testing and take additional time to get results before resuming production.

Most recently, as the virus surges nationwide, especially in Southern California, you may have read that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recommended that productions consider pausing. Together with our sister unions, we have communicated to employers that we are prepared to work with any of their productions seeking to further extend their hiatus. Since that time, the major studios have announced hiatus extensions for many of their projects.

The situation remains fluid and we will continue to monitor new developments and work across the industry to ensure that worker safety remains a top priority.

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