The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences provided more clarity today on the Covid testing requirements for this weekend’s show, providing more specifics for those who have recently had Covid.
The move comes as the number of test specimens indicating the more transmissible BA.2 Omicron have risen 130% in the past week in L.A. Nationally, there are warnings about the surge in the variant may create a spike in new cases, as it seem to have done in the U.K.
In a letter to guests today, the Academy indicated that the updates were made in consultation with medical consultants and local authorities and address the testing details.
They are as follows:
– Those who tested positive for COVID-19 and are within a zero to five-day window from the date of their first positive test are not permitted to attend under any circumstances.
– Those who tested positive for COVID-19 and are within a six to ten-day window from the date of their first positive test are required to provide proof of negative results from two verified PCR, Lucira or Cue Health COVID-19 tests. These tests may not be taken on the same day and must be administered by a verified, medically trained professional.
– The ten-day window is strictly determined by the date and time of the first positive test (antigen or PCR) from a printed lab report and is not based on a doctor’s note or start of symptoms. If you tested positive after March 17, 2022 at 1pm PT, you are considered within the ten-day window.
– If you are outside the ten-day window (you tested positive before March 17, 2022 at 1pm PT) and have tested positive on your PCR test taken on March 24, you must provide proof of negative results from a medically supervised antigen test taken on March 26 or March 27.
The broader Covid policy for the show is that presenters and performers will not be required to show proof of vaccination, but nominees and guests will.
People in the latter group also must have two negative PCR tests.
In a story last month, the New York Times quoted an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences spokeswoman as saying Oscar presenters and performers indeed will be subject to rigorous Covid testing, however.
The Times also noted that audience members in the sections of the Dolby Theatre nearest to the stage won’t be required to wear a mask but will be seated farther apart from one another than usual. Those in the mezzanine, however, must wear a face covering.
The Academy also recommended that, leading up to the show, attendees practice Social distancing and wearing masks, avoid “enclosed and crowded spaces” and limit interactions with people outside of “family, friends and colleagues for an extended time.”
The City and County of Los Angeles currently still require vaccination or a negative test for so-called indoor mega events. But the Academy seems to be skirting those requirements, given that the Oscars is produced as a television show and guests can be considered performers. Accordingly, Covid protocols are regulated under the Industry’s return-to-work protocols, which has allowed film and TV production to continue safely, even through the worst days of the pandemic.
Ironically, none of this would be necessary of the show were just one week later. On April 1, Los Angeles County will align with the state and lift all requirements for attendees of indoor mega-events. While the City of L.A. still has such requirements in place, it is expected to announce their expiration next week after a City Council vote.
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