UPDATED with SAG-AFTRA, Actors’ Equity statements: The Motion Picture Association, in its first public comment about the worldwide threat of the coronavirus, said today that it is “closely monitoring” the spread of the deadly disease and “will continue taking the necessary precautions” to ensure the health and safety of its employees and customers around the world.
“The Motion Picture Association and its member companies are closely monitoring reports from public health officials about the coronavirus and protective measures to limit its impact,” a spokesman for the global trade group told Deadline. “The wellbeing of our global customers and employees is our top priority, and we will continue taking the necessary precautions to ensure their health and safety.”
SAG-AFTRA, which has 160,000 working under contract around the world, said today that it is “monitoring the spread of the coronavirus and tracking updates from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and the U. S. State Department. We will work with employers in our industry as needed to help ensure the safety of our members who are working around the world. We will update our statement periodically as the situation warrants.”
Actors’ Equity, the theatrical union, posted resource material for members and said it was “having the appropriate internal conversations about maintaining business continuity if an outbreak becomes more severe.”
“We have also initiated conversations with major Equity employers and other labor leaders around maintaining a safe and healthy workplace,” said Brandon Lorenz, Equity’s National Director of Communications. “We will continue to monitor the situation, seek guidance and best practices from the appropriate health authorities and share additional information as warranted.”
The film industry is acutely at risk from the spread of the deadly virus, with entertainment stocks tumbling, film crews working in all parts of the world and theaters closing across China, South Korea and northern Italy.
“The impact in 2020 from Corvid-19 (coronavirus) on the motion picture business cannot be overstated,” a finance source told Deadline this week. Another film industry source said: “We are decision makers and problem solvers, but unfortunately because the problem is so unknown in terms of its degree, we just don’t know how deep we’re in. No one knows.”