UPDATED with latest: The cascade continued Tuesday afternoon as Los Angles Public Health officials announced that they would update the county’s Covid-19 guidance to follow the new, looser CDC strictures released Tuesday morning. California officials also signaled the state would comply.
From the Public Health statement:
Los Angeles County will be adjusting our Health Officer Order shortly to align with the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on when and where people need to wear masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The County will modify the Health Officer Order to reflect these changes and provide guidance on additional activities and settings this week.
— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) April 27, 2021
PREVIOUSLY at 11:40 a.m.:Just minutes after the federal government issued new outdoor masking guidelines for fully-vaccinated Americans, California Governor Gavin Newsom released a statement confirming that the state would adopt the CDC strictures. “After reviewing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s masking recommendations,” wrote Newsom, “and with science and data as our guide, we are moving to align California’s guidance with these common-sense updates.” Los Angeles public health officials have yet to weigh in, but they generally agree with the state.
The news comes on the same day that, for the first time, Los Angeles’s Covid numbers qualified it for the least-restrictive tier of California’s reopening Blueprint. If the region remains below the required thresholds for one more consecutive week, it can loosen requirements on movie theaters, theme parks, concerts and posrting events.
PREVIOUSLY at 11:02 a.m.: Just as the weather warms up the CDC has issued new masking guidance for Americans. A key takeaway from the release is that fully-vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask outdoors, except in certain crowded settings and venues. Specifically, masks should still be worn at a crowded outdoor event, like a live performance, parade, or sports event.
Case in point: This Sunday’s giant Vax Live concert at the new SoFi stadium in Los Angeles is limiting the crowd to fully-vaccinated residents. According to instructions posted on Ticketmaster, attendees must wear masks, show their vaccination card and an ID to prove who they are.
Restaurants, however, are a different story. The guidance says that fully vaccinated people may dine at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households. See chart below.
An update from @CDCDirector:
If you are fully vaccinated and want to attend a small outdoor gathering — or dine at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households — the science shows that you can safely do so, unmasked.
— White House COVID-19 Response Team (@WHCOVIDResponse) April 27, 2021
What this means for TV and film productions, which would seem to fall in between those two examples, remains to be seen. The guidance says that Americans are safe to attend small, outdoor gatherings with fully-vaccinated family and friends without a mask. Assuming most workers on a film and TV set are vaccinated and the production is using the zone model, this would seem to open the way to maskless outdoor shoots and maybe even small crowd scenes.
The guidance also may give actors some mental relief as the CDC strictures seem to offer more assurance about performing maskless in a small group setting — so long as everyone is vaccinated.
However, the CDC does warn that risk increases, even for the fully vaccinated, during “activities that involve behaviors such as singing, shouting, physical exertion or heavy breathing, inability to wear a mask, or inability to maintain physical distancing.”
It’s unclear how soon these recommendations could become codified in the industry protocols that govern film and TV production, but the CDC does recommend workers continue to “follow guidance issued by individual employers.” States and counties could also weigh in.
Here are additional specifics from the CDC announcement, which say fully-vaccinated Americans may:
-Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
-Visit with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
-Participate in outdoor activities and recreation without a mask, except in certain crowded settings and venues
-Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
-Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States.
-Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings
-Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic
-Refrain from routine screening testing if asymptomatic and feasible
Those final five bullet points are certainly good news to Hollywood types traveling for work, not to mention productions on location.
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