Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, a former director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, has joined SAG-AFTRA’s Blue Ribbon Commission on COVID-19 safety, the actors guild announced on Wednesday.
Fielding, a graduate of the Harvard School of Medicine, has worked in major public health positions in both Los Angeles and Washington. In addition to serving for 16 years as LACDH director, he also served as a member of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ National Health Security Strategy Committee, which provides a vision for preventing and responding to national health security threats. He was the long-serving chair of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services appointed by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He currently serves as a professor at the University of California Los Angeles Schools of Public Health and Medicine.
Fielding joins a team at SAG-AFTRA that is working to create a list of comprehensive safety protocols concerning COVID-19 for when film and television production is allowed to resume. Hollywood studios and unions have been communicating with each other and with epidemiologists for several weeks about new guidelines that would allow projects to resume while taking social distancing and infection prevention into account.
SAG-AFTRA says that Fielding will examine all known information about the virus and best preventative measures from leading global health organizations as well as the latest safety protocols from labor groups and safety representatives from studios and networks. His findings will be included as part of the blue ribbon commission’s advisories to SAG-AFTRA leadership, which will then be shared with other unions and studios. Among the measures set to be examined are pre-production testing, rigorous sanitation measures, and limiting exposure by cast and crew outside production.
“Our goal is to create a comprehensive and practical framework for returning safely to work,” said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David P. White. “Our members, like all others in the industry, want to get back to earning a living doing what they love: providing the stories and news that entertain and inform audiences around the globe. We are very pleased to have Dr. Fielding join us as a leading partner and guide in this process.”
“COVID 19 remains a most serious health threat to all those who want and need to return to work. Therefore developing guidelines to safeguard people’s health as they work is a critical element of reopening this important industry,” added Fielding.