SAG-AFTRA and the Producers Guild are joining advertisers in recommending that on-set commercial production be temporarily shuttered in Southern California because of surging coronavirus outbreaks in the region, effective immediately. The major studios and streamers, meanwhile, are already on production hiatus in Southern California until mid-January. The guilds are being joined in their call for a suspension of commercial shoots by the Joint Policy Committee of the Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies.
“Southern California hospitals are facing a crisis the likes of which we have never seen before,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “Patients are dying in ambulances waiting for treatment because hospital emergency rooms are overwhelmed. This is not a safe environment for in-person production right now.”
David White, the union’s national executive director, said that “Even putting aside the risk of acquiring Covid on set – a risk that we have done a great deal to mitigate through our safety protocols – on-set production always poses some risk of injury, whether because of a stunt gone wrong, an equipment failure or a garden-variety fall. Right now, with few if any hospital beds available, it is hard to understand how a worker injured on set is supposed to seek treatment. I would like to thank the JPC and the PGA for their efforts to reinforce safety measures for all, and we acknowledge and appreciate the major studios and other producers who have proactively stepped up and postponed their production during this emergency.”
White added that “It is too hard to say right now when the situation may improve, but we are monitoring closely and will make sure that our members have the information they need to make the best decisions they can to protect themselves and our community.”
In a message to their members, PGA presidents Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher said: “We take the health and safety of our members, cast, crew and community very seriously. As a result of the Covid surge and lack of hospital capacity, we encourage everyone currently shooting in Southern California to delay production until the county health officials indicate it’s safe to resume. While we realize these are tough times and this is a tough decision, producers must and do serve as leaders both on our productions and in the community at large. Hopefully, we will be back to work soon.”
Stacy Marcus, chief negotiator for the Joint Policy Committee, said that “Commercial producers are strongly encouraged to reschedule their Southern California-area productions to a later date when the hospital capacity crisis has eased. It is simply too great a risk to performers, crew, and industry personnel to continue production knowing that hospitals are in crisis mode and the number of cases continues to rise.”
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