COVID News: SAG-AFTRA Says “Most Productions On Hiatus Until Mid-January”

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Film and TV production has now been caught up in the latest COVID-19 outbreak in southern California. Tuesday last week SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris and national executive director David White posted a COVID-19 update on the labour union’s website, Entertainment Weekly reports.

“We are writing to let you know that we are closely monitoring the recent surge in COVID-19 infections along with the reported lack of intensive care unit (ICU) beds throughout the state of California and particularly in Los Angeles County,” the update said.

The update went on to acknowledge that there was a need to take immediate action during the current surge in numbers of COVID-19 patients.

“Most entertainment productions will remain on hiatus until the second or third week of January if not later,” the message continued. “This means that the number of our member performers working on sets right now is reduced. Our safety protocols ensure appropriate precautions for the holiday hiatus period including additional time for testing prior to the resumption of production.”

The labour union has said it will continue monitoring the situation along with public health officials, and urged members to remain vigilant and “adhere to safety principals to protect yourselves, your families, communities and colleagues.”

A link was given to SAG-AFTRA’s COVID-19 information page, along with advice to frequently wash hands and to socially distance.

On December 24th LA County Department of Public Health sent an update to all local film industry members reminding them to exercise caution, and to “Strongly consider pausing work for a few weeks during this catastrophic surge in COVID cases.” Then on Tuesday 29th California State extended the region’s stay-at-home order, with no end date given.

Carolyn Hucker