The COVID-19 guidelines that for the past three years have kept cast and crew safe during production amid the pandemic will expire on May 12.
The current iteration of the agreement, negotiated by industry unions and leading studios and streaming companies represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), will remain in place until May 11. After that point, the agreement will expire, AMPTP announced on Thursday, with entertainment unions confirming the news later in the day. The Hollywood Reporter reported on the possible conclusion of the agreement on Thursday.
“Over the past three years, workers across the entertainment community have benefited from our robust protections that exceed the practices of many other industries,” said a coalition of unions including the Directors Guild of America and SAG -AFTRA in a statement. “With the public health emergency now over and the expiration of the COVID-19 Safety Agreement, individual employers continue to be responsible for ensuring safe workplaces for their employees , but must seek separate agreement with the applicable integrated unions before implementing any COVID safety protocols. ”
Even after the agreement expires, workers in film and television productions can still use a bank of five temporary COVID-19 paid sick leave days between April 2 and December 31 if they becomes ill with COVID or if another covered COVID event occurs.
The decision also appears to end any vaccine mandate on new productions starting after May 12. “Any production that implemented a mandatory vaccination policy for employees in Zone A before May 12, 2023 may continue to apply the mandatory vaccination policy for the rest. of production (or season, in the case of a series),” AMPTP said in its statement.
However, testing for COVID-19 will still take place in specific cases involving scenes of intimacy, the unions noted in their joint statement. “SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP have reached an understanding on a testing system for performers involved in intimate scenes to ensure their safety and well-being,” the unions said. No further details were available at the time of printing.
Both parties note that the final day of the agreement coincides with the planned date when the US Department of Health and Human Services will end the federal COVID-19 public health emergency.
AMPTP has periodically updated and expanded these safety protocols with The Directors Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and the Teamsters and Basic Crafts unions since the agreement was first implemented in September 2020. the current version of the agreement was set to expire on April 1, but instead of extending or modifying the agreement — which stakeholders have done on several occasions in the past few years — the parties decided to terminate it.