Film and TV crews can remove masks under updated COVID rules

Film and TV crews can remove masks under updated COVID rules

Film and TV workers will finally be able to take off their masks, as entertainment unions and studios have agreed to relax industry COVID protocols.

The relaxed regulations will also mean less frequent testing during productions, although workers will still need to get tested before starting a new job.

The industry’s COVID protocols were set to expire on April 30, but were extended for a week as studios and unions continued to negotiate changes. The relaxed rules on masks and testing only apply in areas with low COVID hospital admissions – meaning the rules could be reimposed if hospitalizations spike. Employers also have the power to require masking and increase the frequency of testing if circumstances change.

The update marks the biggest change to the protocols since they were first promulgated in September 2020. The studios negotiated the deal with SAG-AFTRA, Teamsters and Other Core Trades, International Theater Employee Alliance and the Directors Guild of America. The latest agreement will come into effect at least until July 15.

Vaccine rules remain unchanged as employers still have the power to mandate vaccinations and booster shots, but only in ‘Zone A’. The area refers to the actors and other workers on set, as well as those who come into contact with the actors, such as makeup artists. There is no vaccination mandate for workers outside of Zone A.

Masks will still be required on shuttles, but “will not be necessary in most settings”, according to a statement from the unions. Workers in Zones A and B will still need to get tested weekly, but workers in Zones C and D will not have to get tested after their pre-employment test.

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