With the coronavirus disease now part of entertainment workplaces, the Hollywood industry recently updated its protocols to provide a safe working environment for those in front and behind the camera.

The coronavirus impacted the United States, many people worldwide, and continues to do so today. Even though new cases of COVID-19 and its variants are dwindling, the website USA Facts.org declares that the current percentage of fully vaccinated Californians stands at 70%. We at Revolution Entertainment Services understand the importance of the health and safety of those affected by the virus in and out of the film and television industry.

These are the workforce behind your favorite film and & television program that strives to bring you the best form of entertainment. That’s why we’re doing our part to stay informed and pass along updates on COVID-19 mandate information and helpful tips and information from reliable sources.

 

Return-To-Work Covid Protocols

 

In 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom declared that filming and television production would return to California on June 12th. First, conditions of permits and approvals had to be received from a county’s public health officials. Next, many unions in the Hollywood industry—such as the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), SAG-AFTRA, and others—put together a list of safety protocols that would be followed during production. Some of the rules consist of 10-hour sessions, closed sets, and regular cast and crew member testing to reduce COVID-19 exposure.

This collaboration among Hollywood labor unions and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) was finalized in September 2021.

As of recent, the return-to-work covid protocols were extended to April 30th. This extension has a better definition of “fully vaccinated” that will now include a booster shot and will be in effect on March 15th.

It’s important to note that this new update also covers the type of mask required to be on set. KN95, KF94, or N95 are requirements while production occurs, and fortunately for many in the workforce, their employer will provide them. In addition, part of the updated agreement adds several additional antigen tests— which already involved strictly enforced testing regimens. Finally, the revision incorporates a refresher of the COVID-19 sick leave bank funding for all cast and crew to ten days.

These protocols were initially set to expire on April 30th, 2021; however, minor modifications were needed, and no pushbacks were made against the safety measures. This allowed the return-to-work agreement to be extended to October 31st. The practices were set to expire again but were stretched to January 15th, 2022. Some of the other provisions in the agreement comprise Covid compliance officers and a “Zone” system that implemented a tighter control of certain production areas. This is based on the vicinity to the cast who don’t wear masks or social distance while on camera.

 

Safe Work Environment

 

When it comes to workplace safety, always remember that the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health site (Cal/OSHA) advises that employers and their employees stick to strict public health guidelines for using proper face coverings—vaccinated or unvaccinated. Workers showing symptoms may not return to work until ten days have passed since their symptoms appear, no fever for 24 hours without medication, and their symptoms have improved. In the case of a positive test result with no signs of exposure, vaccinated or unvaccinated workers must wait ten days and test negative before returning to work.

Workers who may have been exposed may return to work if they’re fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days, as well show no symptoms and do not test positive. An unvaccinated worker is required to have a negative test result five days after their initial exposure and may return to work on the 7th day if no symptoms have appeared. However, they cannot return to work for at least ten days if they do not get a test.

 

2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

 

There has been a labor law recently enacted for those who have missed work due to illness caused by the coronavirus. The 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (“SPSL”) was passed by California State Legislature on February 7th and enacted on February 19th, 2022. This new California state labor law was created to protect those employees who have become ill due to Covid exposure while on the job. This new law covers public or private sector employees who work for employers with 26 or more employees. In addition, full-time workers may take up to 40 hours of leave if the employee is unable to work in-person or virtual.

The following reasons are acceptable if the leave is vaccine-related, caring for yourself, or caring for a family member. Workers may also use up to an additional 40 hours of leave if they test positive for Covid or are taking care of a family member who has.

Part-time employees are covered as well. Workers may take leave if they have worked for over two weeks, but only half of those hours are available when they or a family member has tested positive for the virus. Unfortunately, those considered independent contractors or loan-outs are not eligible to take advantage of the new law.

The SPSL has been retroactively placed for those employees that missed work between January 1st, 2022, and February 19th, 2022, and may request their payments from their employer. More information on the 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave can be found at your place of employment or on the California Department of Industrial Relations website.

If you are unsure about the paid sick leave requirements that apply to your production, please reach out to Revolution Entertainment Service for guidance.

 

In Conclusion

 

It’s crucial to keep in mind that we’re all in this together. Cases of COVID-19 are still present today, and it’s our job to do what we can to protect those around us and those affected by the pandemic. These regulations, helpful tips, and laws are there to make sure that we can live our lives stronger and more unified than ever.