US unions recommend temporary hold on production in southern California

Covid case numbers continue to rise in the region

By Chris Evans 4 Jan 2021

US unions recommend temporary hold on production in southern California

SAG-AFTRA, the Joint Policy Committee and the Producers Guild of America have recommended a "temporary hold on in-person production" amid the pandemic.

Together, the organizations represent thousands of actors, producers, commercial advertisers and ad agencies.

"In light of the capacity crisis facing Southern California hospitals due to the COVID pandemic and an anticipated post-holiday surge of COVID cases, SAG-AFTRA and organizations representing commercial advertisers and advertising agencies and independent film and television producers have reached agreement on recommending a temporary hold on in-person production in Southern California," they said in a joint release.

The major studios and streamers are already on production hiatus in Southern California until mid-January.

Members of SAG-AFTRA who live in Southern California are urged to stay home, according to the joint statement, and “refrain from accepting on-set employment for the next several weeks”.

"Even putting aside the risk of acquiring COVID on set — a risk that we have done a great deal to mitigate through our safety protocols — on set production always poses some risk of injury, whether because of a stunt gone wrong, an equipment failure or a garden-variety fall.  Right now, with few if any hospital beds available, it is hard to understand how a worker injured on set is supposed to seek treatment," said David White, SAG-AFTRA's national executive director. "I would like to thank the JPC and the PGA for their efforts to reinforce safety measures for all, and we acknowledge and appreciate the major studios and other producers who have proactively stepped up and postponed their production during this emergency."

Stacy Marcus, chief negotiator for the JPC, added: "Commercial producers are strongly encouraged to reschedule their Southern California-area productions to a later date when the hospital capacity crisis has eased.  It is simply too great a risk to performers, crew, and industry personnel to continue production knowing that hospitals are in crisis mode and the number of cases continues to rise."

In Los Angeles alone, 12,488 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Sunday, according the the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The current testing positivity rate stands at 18.4%. As of Sunday night, 7,544 people in L.A. were hospitalized with COVID-19.

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