Following up on a story from last week, a team of epidemiologists have reviewed the Golf Channel‘s COVID safety protocols and raised a number of concerns about them. The team includes Dr. Gregory Wagner of Harvard’s T.H Chan School of Public Health, Dr. Letitia Davis, formerly with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and Dr. David H. Wegman of University of Massachusetts Lowell. Their concerns involve the channel’s failure to address parts of the important Covid Safety plans set up for remote site events.
The experts noted that the tournaments being covered by the Golf Channel didn’t have a trained Covid Compliance Safety Officer on-site, they weren’t offering paid sick leave, and most importantly, they didn’t offer regularly scheduled testing for broadcast workers prior to working at these tournaments.
In a joint statement issued, they said, “Establishing regular testing protocols for broadcast crews would substantially lower the risk of an asymptomatic individual infecting multiple people at an event. By choosing not to have testing for Broadcast crews, management at the Golf Channel are increasing the risk to players, co-workers, and the public.”
Last week the IATSE, who represents the Golf Channel techs, broke the story that Golf Channel wasn’t testing its people after several workers got sick. In turn, IATSE submitted Golf Channel’s protocols to the team of public health experts for them to review.
To date, Golf Channel management has rejected calls for tests to be made available to crews, simply stating they are following all city and state guidelines despite multiple instances of infections occurring among crews. According to the experts, those guidelines are the bare minimum, noting, “State and community guidelines are a good start, but they are by no means the be-all and end-all when it comes to COVID safety.” Other networks and broadcasters have established far more comprehensive guidelines that go further than these very basic steps.
Although the broadcast crews are not tested, golfers and caddies who participate in the tournaments Golf Channel covers are routinely tested ahead of time. ”It is prudent to provide tests for all workers who come into contact with players, other workers or the public,” said Dr. Wagner.