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SAG-AFTRA: Most Productions Will Stay on Hiatus Until at Least Mid-January Due to LA COVID Surge

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and just hours after state officials said that the stay-at-home order for Southern California will remain in effect indefinitely, SAG-AFTRA told members Tuesday night that “most” film and TV productions will stay on hiatus through at least the middle of January.

Across the Los Angeles area, hospitals are at zero capacity with ICUs full, with some reporting that they’ve had to turn gift shops into makeshift rooms and even turn patients away. And at least 5 area hospitals are reporting problems delivering oxygen to patients due to the huge spike in demand caused by a steep rise in COVID-19 cases.

Those realities were cited by SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris and National Executive Director David White in a letter to members Tuesday night, posted to the guild’s website. “This is deeply concerning to us all and we have taken immediate action to connect with our epidemiologists and public health experts regarding the surge in cities across the nation,” they wrote.

“Most entertainment productions will remain on hiatus until the second or third week of January if not later. This means that the number of our member performers working on sets right now is reduced. Our safety protocols ensure appropriate precautions for the holiday hiatus period including additional time for testing prior to the resumption of production,” the letter continued.

Carteris and White said SAG-AFTRA is in “close contactwith our sister unions and guilds, the industry, our expert epidemiologists, industrial sanitation specialists, public health officials, member leaders and staff” in order to ensure safe working conditions for members when work resumes.

The letter also urges members to “remain vigilant and adhere to the safety principles,” including universal wearing of masks and hygienic practices like washing hands.

Read the full letter below:

We are writing to let you know that we are closely monitoring the recent surge in COVID-19 infections along with the reported lack of intensive care unit (ICU) beds throughout the state of California and particularly in Los Angeles County. This is deeply concerning to us all and we have taken immediate action to connect with our epidemiologists and public health experts regarding the surge in cities across the nation.

Most entertainment productions will remain on hiatus until the second or third week of January if not later. This means that the number of our member performers working on sets right now is reduced. Our safety protocols ensure appropriate precautions for the holiday hiatus period including additional time for testing prior to the resumption of production.

To ensure the utmost safety, we are in close contact with our sister unions and guilds, the industry, our expert epidemiologists, industrial sanitation specialists, public health officials, member leaders and staff. We remain focused on ensuring the safest possible work environment and protocols for SAG-AFTRA members.

We will continue to monitor this situation and its impact on production and employment in all contract areas and will take appropriate measures as needed to ensure the continued safety of our members and others.

In the meantime, we urge you all to remain vigilant and adhere to the safety principles to protect yourselves, your families, communities and colleagues. Always, wear your masks, maintain safe physical distancing, wash hands frequently and well, and follow the public health recommendations for preventing the spread of infectious disease. For a refresher on how you can help stop the spread of COVID-19, review the SAG-AFTRA Safety Tips. Thank you for staying safe and taking action to protect yourself and others during this pandemic. Please continue to monitor your emails for updates over the coming days and weeks.

Wishing you and yours a safe and joyful New Year.

In unity,

Gabrielle Carteris SAG-AFTRA President

David White SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director

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Source: the wrap feed