Hollywood studios and unions have extended the return to work production agreement struck during the pandemic beyond Friday’s (September 30) expiry date as the parties continue to discuss protocols.
At time of writing talks were understood to be ongoing between representatives from IATSE, Directors Guild Of America, SAG-AFTRA, the Teamsters and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which negotiates on behalf of the studios.
After the initial stages of the pandemic forced the rapid shut-down of the global production ecosystem, protocols were set in place in September 2020 to enable shoots to resume in as safe a manner as possible.
They were initially set to expire on April 30, 2021, and have been extended multiple times since then. Measures include zoned productions offering varying degrees of control depending on the location of actors, as well as wearing of masks and protective gear, and on-set Covid compliance officers.
One sticking point among SAG-AFTRA has been the vaccine mandate, which allows producers to require proof of vaccination in Zone A – the most secure zone where lead actors operate – as they see fit on each production.
The issue has seen advocates in favour argue the mandate reduces transmission of the virus, while those against say vaccines have become less effective amid variants.
Covid levels across the US have been dropping over the summer and are currently designated low in Los Angeles County. According to The New York Times the country’s daily rate of reported cases is 1,308, some 22% down from two weeks prior.