As we’ve all been hearing on the news for the past few weeks, the COVID situation in Los Angeles County is starting to get out of control with hospital ICUs being overwhelmed by the influx of COVID cases, said to be have a percent infection rate of 20% or more at this point.
The L.A. County Department of Public Health (LADPH) and SAG-AFTRA both commented on the situation late in December, advising productions pause — some have done so — but the Directors Guild of America (DGA) has finally chimed in with a message to its member about the situations.
The DGA states that the protocols taken by the industry to fight the spread of COVID “have been largely effective in catching infected individuals before they are contagious, and limiting the potential spread on set.”
Even so, the DGA is working with those who wish to extend the year-end holiday hiatus while the pandemic surge continues in Southern California and other parts of the country.
You can read the full message from the DGA to its members (courtesy Deadline) below:
The DGA continues to keep a very close eye on Covid-19 developments in our ongoing efforts to keep members protected. From working with leading scientists, our sister unions and industry employers on the development of stringent return-to-work testing and protocols announced in the fall, to negotiating adjustments to address increased Covid-19 risk during the holidays, our goal has always been to minimize the risk of workplace exposure for our members and all workers on set. The data so far has indicated that these protocols have been largely effective in catching infected individuals before they are contagious, and limiting the potential spread on set.
But as the situation around us changes, we continue our diligent work to keep members protected. We’ve long anticipated that there would be this post-holiday spike in community Covid-19 infections, which is why, prior to Thanksgiving, we negotiated an agreement providing employers with flexibility and economic incentive to increase testing and take additional time to get results before resuming production.
Most recently, as the virus surges nationwide, especially in Southern California, you may have read that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recommended that productions consider pausing. Together with our sister unions, we have communicated to employers that we are prepared to work with any of their productions seeking to further extend their hiatus. Since that time, the major studios have announced hiatus extensions for many of their projects.
The situation remains fluid and we will continue to monitor new developments and work across the industry to ensure that worker safety remains a top priority.
As mentioned, the LADPH had strongly advised that productions pause, and many productions in Southern California have delayed their post-holiday restarts until the 2nd or 3rd weeks in January.
The COVID spread in Southern California and L.A. in particular is an ongoing story that we’ll be covering extensively, so look for further updates in Friday’s “End of Week Production Notes.”