The Directors Guild of America announced in a letter released on Thursday that a new National Board committee led by “Contagion” director Steven Soderbergh will work on forming a guide on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus during production on film and TV projects that can be used whenever public health officials allow for filming to resume.
“A major concern we’re hearing most right now is about when we’ll be returning to work, and how we can be certain that it’s safe to do so. Rest assured, this is something we’ve been spending a great deal of time thinking about as well,” read the letter from guild president Thomas Schlamme and executive director Russell Hollander.
“While we don’t have an answer as to when production will resume, we are taking steps to address how we can be safe when it does happen.”
The task force will work with epidemiologists to examine the production process and provide recommendations to the DGA National Board on how to best implement social distancing practices while filming. The DGA is also in communication with other Hollywood guilds and unions about forming a comprehensive safety guide.
DGA is also forming a second committee of feature film directors, assistant directors, and unit production managers focused on “preserving the communal theatrical experience” as thousands of movie theaters nationwide remain closed with many, including AMC Theaters, in danger of bankruptcy. Movie theaters are not expected to reopen until July at the earliest, with dozens of films having their release dates postponed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Directors Guild’s letter comes as officials on all levels of government have released frameworks on how businesses could reopen with social distancing protocols implemented. A six-step framework released by California Gov. Gavin Newsom noted that in addition to lowered infection rates, the state will need to have stronger testing, treatment and social distancing protocols and infrastructure in place before businesses can reopen.
The Trump Administration also released a three-phase process on Thursday that outlined how businesses could steadily reopen and public life could resume with protective measures in place such as limits on mass gatherings and protective masks being worn. President Trump noted that it will be up to state governors to oversee the process of reopening businesses and public areas, a walk back from earlier claims that he had authority to do so.