Hollywood Covid protocols extended into autumn

Los Angeles County faces return to public indoor mask mandate as early as July 29.

By Jeremy Kay 15 Jul 2022

Hollywood Covid protocols extended into autumn

Mask wearing and other Covid protocols on Hollywood film and TV sets have been extended into early autumn amid the latest surge in Los Angeles County.

The Return To Work agreement between Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the main Hollywood unions such as SAG-AFTRA was due to expire tomorrow (July 15) but has now been pushed back to September 30.

The agreement, originally struck in September 2020, governs how sets must be run during the pandemic. Measures include zoning, vaccinations, handling food on set, and Covid compliance supervisors.

Protocols were relaxed in May when cases were on the decline. However the situation has changed in recent weeks as the highly transmissible BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants have pushed levels to their highest point since January.

The agreement calls for tightening of restrictions when the number of people admitted to hospital surpasses eight per 100,000 residents for seven consecutive days.

According to Los Angeles County’s department of public health on Thursday the level had reached 10.5 per 100,000 residents, crossing the 10 per 100,000 threshold and pushing the community into the “high” Covid activity band. Department director Barbara Ferrer said if levels remain at the “high” level for two straight weeks the public indoor mask mandate will return as early as July 29.

The county reported 8,535 new cases on Thursday and the hospitalisation rate has increased by 88% in the last month. Health officials concede infection levels are likely to be considerably higher as most residents are testing via home kits and do not report results to the county.

There have been significant recent Covid outbreaks in Hollywood. This week it emerged at least 43 people had been infected on the Warner Bros lot.

Los Angeles Times first reported the agreement extension on Thursday.

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