Hollywood to end COVID-19 protocols

The current agreement expires on May 12

By Gabriella Geisinger 31 Mar 2023

Hollywood to end COVID-19 protocols

In the USA, the COVID-19 guidelines that for the past three years kept casts and crews safe during production amid the pandemic will expire on May 12. 

The pact was negotiated by industry unions and top studios and streaming companies represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and will remain in place through May 11 after which the agreement will expire.

The announcement came on Thursday March 30, from AMPTP, with the aforementioned unions confirming later that day. 

The pact was initially meant to run until the end of April 2021, but the gravity of the pandemic resulted in the expiration date being pushed back multiple times.

"For the past three years, workers throughout the entertainment community have benefited from our robust protections exceeding the practices of many other industries,” a coalition of unions including the Directors Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA said in a statement. "With the public health emergency now ending 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 joint unions before implementing any COVID safety protocols."

The decision also appears to end any vaccine mandates on new productions starting up after May 12. "Any production which has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy for employees in Zone A prior to May 12, 2023 may continue to apply that mandatory vaccination policy for the remainder of the production (or season, in the case of a series)," the AMPTP said in its statement.

However, COVID-19 testing will continue in specific cases involving scenes of intimacy, the unions confirmed in their 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 stated.

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