Why Hollywood production teams won’t take their masks off yet
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can resume most typical pre-pandemic activities without wearing a face mask or social distancing, there was one important exception to the advice. of the agency.
National guidelines state that people may do without masks “except when required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, including advice on local businesses and workplaces.”
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These workplace tips for film and TV shoots mean that wearing masks on sets is likely to continue in the weeks and months to come, both in Los Angeles County and beyond. filming locations. After the pandemic began last year, the production industry worked tirelessly to put in place guidelines that would keep cast and crew safe and keep cameras running. LA County guidelines include frequent Covid testing, social distancing, and widespread mask wear. “All non-cameras must wear masks throughout the working day,” the guidelines say.
The county health department said on Friday his hands were tied by Cal / OSHA, the state’s workplace safety regulator, and expected to hear more after the standards board meeting from Cal / OSHA on May 20.
âEveryone must continue to adhere to the required distancing and masking in all workplaces,â the county health agency said.
Face shields, however, are now optional on productions intended for vaccinated workers. As of May 6, LA County protocols for film, television and music production specify: âEmployees who are otherwise required to wear a face shield or goggles may choose not to wear a face shield if they are. fully vaccinated. Employees should always wear face masks. “
Entertainment industry protocols are also the product of collective bargaining, so any update to these rules will have to involve unions.
The IATSE said it was not yet ready to comment on the CDC’s revised mask guidelines.
SMPTE National Executive Director Barbara Lange spoke positively about the announcement, saying, âIt means the United States is on a positive path and our economy is likely to return soon. Nonetheless, we must take appropriate steps to ensure continued health and safety by continuing to promote vaccination as the fastest way to get back to normal. “
“We’ll have to wait and see because as long as the studios have negotiated the way forward with the unions and there are still insurance risk factors for studios and production companies, it’s not really up to you. us as individuals – if we want to work, that is, âsaid JJ Levine, vice president of the International Guild of Site Managers. “I’m lucky because it’s relatively easy to stay left behind in my work, but given the logistics of the other departments working with each other so close on set, I think it will be cinema like Covid. -usual for a while. ,” he said.
Salvador Perez, President of the Costume Designers Guild, says his personal mask-wearing habits will not change: âWe worked very hard with IATSE to draft the Covid Safety Protocols, they allowed us to go back to work and to protect us. Wearing masks was part of our daily routine. Although they were a bit boring, the only advantage of everyone wearing a mask was that no one had the cold or flu that usually spreads throughout the entire setting. Personally, I plan to continue to wear a mask at work when we are in large groups. I think that could become the way to keep us healthy at work. “
A member of a local IATSE in Hollywood who wished to remain anonymous added: âWorking on a set is a whole other ball of wax. It just came out, with not enough time for producers and guilds to have this discussion, so we as a crew have no idea what impact this is going to have on us – it just doesn’t matter. is not yet produced.
As productions continue to navigate the return to work amid evolving COVID protocols and CDC updates, costume designer Jill Ohanneson (“For All Mankind”) and Howard Berger (head of the makeup department ” Them â) are expressed in front of a Variety Streaming Room conversation, added that they will continue to wear face shields for the foreseeable future as proof of vaccination is not required on sets.
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