Renowned public health official Dr. Jonathan Fielding has joined the SAG-AFTRA President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Safety to advise the union in developing and implementing new safety protocols for preventing the spread of COVID-19 when production resumes.
Fielding served as Public Health Director and Health Officer for Los Angeles County for 16 years and now is a distinguished professor of health policy and management and of pediatrics at the UCLA Schools of Public Health and Medicine.
“His chief objective,” SAG-AFTRA said, “will be to work with union leaders to create a set of protocols that establish minimum safety standards and maximize the mitigation of risks associated with traditional modes of production.”
Said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris: “We are working tirelessly to establish a structure that will allow our members to safely return to work. Dr. Fielding’s expertise is a critical piece in solving the unique challenges our industry presents.”
Added SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White: “Our goal is to create a comprehensive and practical framework for returning safely to work. Our members, like all others in the industry, want to get back to earning a living doing what they love: providing the stories and news that entertain and inform audiences around the globe. We are very pleased to have Dr. Fielding join us as a leading partner and guide in this process.”
Fielding, a nationally recognized expert in public health preparedness and communication, said: “COVID 19 remains a most serious health threat to all those who want and need to return to work. Therefore, developing guidelines to safeguard people’s health as they work is a critical element of reopening this important industry.”
The union added in its statement: “Dr. Fielding’s work with the union will begin immediately, starting with a thorough evaluation of data available from leading public health organizations such as the CDC, World Health Organization and municipal public health agencies; and from labor relations and industrial sanitation and safety representatives of studios, networks and industry-related organizations around the world. This data-based assessment will inform the union’s recommendations, which will in turn be brought to our labor allies, sister unions and global entertainment and media industry employers for discussion, input and alignment on minimum uniform safety standards. The resulting protocol will look at all stages of the production process from socially distanced casting to pre-production testing to regular temperature monitoring, zoned production and rigorous sanitation measures to guidance on personal considerations on limiting exposure outside of production.”