Hollywood’s COVID-19 Task Force Sends Safety White Paper to New York, California Governors

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Industry-Wide Safety Committee submits its recommendations ahead of L.A. County’s safety guideline release on Tuesday

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After weeks of deliberations between Hollywood’s guilds and studios, the Industry-Wide Safety Committee has submitted a white paper to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and California Gov. Gavin Newsom offering its recommendations for safety guidelines to resume film and television production. In a memo sent to members of the Directors Guild of America, President Thomas Schlamme and National Executive Director Russell Hollander said that the white paper “addresses areas including set hygiene, disinfection and maintenance, catering, mandatory employment of Covid-19 Compliance Officer(s), symptom screening, physical distancing, paid leave policies and Covid-19 training, among other critically important topics necessary for the safe resumption of production.” Some of the recommendations in the White Paper (which can be read here) echo those released by the British Film Commission on Monday, specifically pertaining to cleaning practices that have been implemented by other industries as well as daily symptom checks and regular testing. But the Safety Committee also strongly recommends an “autonomous COVID-19 Compliance Officer” tasked with ensuring that safety precautions are being taken at all times. The paper also notes that guilds and studios are still undergoing further discussions regarding key issues such as department-specific protocols and personal protection equipment. Meanwhile, each Hollywood guild is working with its own COVID-19 committee consisting of guild leadership and hired epidemiologists to come up with further recommendations specifically tailored to their members’ needs. In their memo to DGA members, Schlamme and Hollander say that the guild’s COVID-19 committee recommends prioritizing testing for performers, since they will not be able to wear protective equipment or maintain social distancing in front of a camera. “On the other hand, individuals who work in areas like the production office – where physical distancing and PPE can be utilized – do not need to be tested as frequently. In order to ensure these different sections of the production environment are tightly controlled, the Committee recommends the implementation of a specialized Zone’ system, which sets out the environments and barriers within which those on set can flow based on proximity to cast, level of testing, PPE and the extent to which physical distancing can be observed in the performance of their work,” Schlamme wrote. While installing safety protocols will be key to resuming production, several other hurdles still remain for film and TV projects to get back to work. Multiple studio insiders have told TheWrap that studios are still determining how implementing these protocols will be carried out on projects of various sizes, particularly blockbusters like “Jurassic World: Dominion,” “The Batman,” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” Insurance and the specific protocols for various shooting locations in other states and countries are also issues that are still to be resolved. Spokespersons for Gov. Cuomo and Gov. Newsom did not immediately respond to requests for comment.