Winter 2021

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O ne actor described walking onto set as though she was walking into a sci-fi movie, with people wearing personal protective equipment such as face shields and hazmat suits. But this wasn't a sci-fi movie, it's the new norm for film and television productions. It's a norm that emphasizes testing, sanitation, physical distancing and use of protective equipment for keeping film sets safe while separating groups into zones — the strictest and most protected zone being where actors aren't able to wear masks while filming a scene. Production took off after the Sept. 21 announcement that unions representing casts and crews had reached an agreement with the major studios on protocols to allow members of the industry to resume their crafts and livelihoods in workplaces redesigned around their health. Guiding principles include strictly enforced testing regimens and safety protocols, the zone-based system, the diligent use of personal protective equipment, and coordination by a qualified COVID-19 compliance supervisor. The new measures are being implemented by employers in order to minimize the risk of transmission. To ensure workers' livelihoods are not burdened with added uncertainty during the pandemic, the agreement also includes COVID-19 sick leave and quarantine pay. SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said that SAG-AFTRA members, "along with their peers in other entertainment unions, are anxious to get back to work, but safety has to be the highest priority. This agreement establishes sensible, science-based protocols that allow members to return to doing the work they love while managing risk. I am grateful to our sister unions, who pulled together during this extended crisis, as well as to the studios for collaborating on this important issue." The agreement is the outcome of unprecedented coordination and solidarity between SAG-AFTRA, the Directors Guild of America, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Basic Crafts. These groups worked with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for months to develop science-based protocols to minimize the risk of transmission, designed with the unique work environments of film and television production in mind. The guidelines are based on The Safe Way Forward report released by the unions in June and developed in consultation with leading epidemiologists and experts, as well as the preceding industry white paper delivered to state governments and agencies to examine the resumption of production. "Charting a safe path back to work has been our No. 1 priority," Carteris said, adding that the new agreement is "the single most important agreement we've signed in decades." Members of the crew wear PPE on the set of CBS' All Rise, featuring Simone Missick as Lola. The courtroom is even outfitted with acrylic safety partitions. GET THE LATEST INFO At presstime, a COVID-19 surge had paused production in Southern California. Please visit backtowork for updates. ERIK VOAKE/ CBS | Winter 2021 | SAG-AFTRA 69

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