As the film and television industry prepares to restart, reopening live entertainment venues might prove more difficult in the coronavirus era. To meet the challenge, IATSE is developing a Stagecraft Safety Committee Recovery Plan for work in legit theaters, arenas, stadiums and at other live events.
The plan, which already has gone through two drafts, “will be dealing with larger groups of people at times, dealing directly with talent in handling props, make-up, hair and wardrobe,” said a knowledgeable source, who told Deadline that other protocols on the menu include “constant daily temperature checks” and a COVID Officer “to monitor the stages to make sure people abiding by the guidelines and practicing safe measures.”
The union, which represents film, television and stage crews in cities and towns across the U.S. and Canada, reported that 95% of its members were left jobless by the COVID-19 shutdown. “The pandemic has essentially devastated our work opportunities, un-employing nearly 150,000 of our members,” IATSE international president Matt Loeb said during a virtual town hall on May 12. In live venues, they work as stagehands and in all manner of crafts, including sound, lighting, props, rigging, electric, construction, painting, costumes and hair & makeup.
Other protocols being considered, the source said, include “staging cue paths amongst crew for set changes during performances, and creating ‘buddy systems’ for people working regular cues together to help narrow down contact made if an incident should arise with an individual contracting the virus.” A wellness questionnaire also is expected to be part of the reopening plan.
“We’re also asking employers to have their cleaning staff concentrate on wiping down often-used areas, such as door handles and restrooms, and craft service tables to have food individually wrapped, etc. There will be a third draft soon, and we hope this will be presented for approval to implement as a guideline for live entertainment.”
Last Monday, the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee issued a 22-page White Paper for the safe reopening of film, TV and streaming productions.