Download the latest PDF version of the protocols or find full text below.
Production Protocols for COVID-19
UPDATE MAY 10, 2022
The revised protocols outlined by the unions and guilds were modified.
UPDATE MARCH 10, 2022
This update reflects the statewide mask mandate being removed.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 16, 2022
This update reflects the revised protocols outlined by the unions and guilds.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 29, 2021
This update addresses the outdoor mask mandate for public places where physical distancing is not possible, which was enacted on August 27, 2021, has been removed.
UPDATE AUGUST 27, 2021
This update reflects the Governor’s mask mandate now in effect.
UPDATE JULY 21, 2021
This update incorporates the July 19 revision of the the SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, Teamsters and DGA “Return to Work” Agreement.
UPDATE JUNE 30, 2021
This update reflects Governor Brown’s announcement that “Oregon is 100% open for business”!
UPDATE MAY 20, 2021
This update addresses the new Oregon Health Authority guidance pertaining to fully vaccinated persons. You are considered “fully vaccinated” 14 days after 2nd dose of Pfizer or Moderna; 14 days after single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
UPDATE DECEMBER 3, 2020
Links added to new AICP Return to Work Agreement
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 25, 2020
Embedded links updated to reflect new agreement reached between the unions and AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers).
UPDATE AUGUST 14, 2020
The following clarification has been added to the protocols, and is reiterated in several places throughout the guidelines:
Maintaining 6' of distance at all times, even while wearing masks, is critical especially when it comes to contact tracing protocols instituted at the county level.
UPDATE JULY 31, 2020
- Additional clarification on when PPE is required; PPE guidelines for crew working near actors
- Removed suggestion for 10-minute daily safety meetings—they should be as long as necessary to keep everyone safe and informed.
UPDATE JULY 17, 2020
- Clarification that the guidelines are to help employers meet the standard OSHA law requiring a safe workplace.
- Refines guidelines around COVID safety personnel
- Masks must also be worn outdoors where 6’ distancing cannot be maintained.
- Productions should hold daily 10-minute meetings specifically about COVID safety and concerns
- Guidelines on contact tracing
UPDATE JULY 10, 2020
- Additional guidelines on what to do if someone tests positive for COVID-19
- Information on antibody testing—it’s not permitted by employers
UPDATE JUNE 19, 2020
Added requirements from Gov. Brown's new Executive Order this week. Find all of the most recent guidelines in the full production protocols PDF.
UPDATE JUNE 2, 2020
- Incorporated new guidelines developed by IATSE, SAG-AFTRA, Teamsters, and DGA
- Added hotlines where you can report safety concerns
Read the general safety protocols below for information on securing your production from the spread of COVID-19.
KEEPING THE WORKPLACE SAFE FROM COVID
Remember, everyone will have a different pace, situation, and approach to return to work. Empathy and accommodation will be needed. Make your set an open forum for learning and sharing safety procedures. If anyone sees something that could be improved, they are encouraged to share it.
*UPDATED 6/30/21* FOLLOWING STATE AND FEDERAL GUIDELINES
Oregon removed all COVID related restrictions on June 30, 2021. In addition, the SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, Teamsters and DGA “Return to Work” Agreement was also modified on July 19, 2021. Federal restrictions have also been recently relaxed. However it is our intention to create guidelines that can be applied to traditional productions that minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 — while allowing work to continue under any federal, state, local or union/guild restrictions and distancing measures that may still be in place.
For many film and television productions guidelines and restrictions may still be in place from studios, guilds and unions. Producers will need to resource these details according to the agreements and jurisdictions that apply to their productions. We have linked to many of these agreements, including the “Return to Work” Joint Guilds & Unions Protocols that apply to productions operating under a DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and/or Teamsters agreements.
COMMUNICATION, TRANSPARENCY & VISITORS
- Publish protocols:All COVID-19 protocols used by the production should be published, distributed, and agreed to by all crew, cast, and other personnel.
- Anonymous reporting: Production/Producers should establish an anonymous reporting mechanism (via email, phone or online form) that enables all personnel to report concerns about COVID protocols or other safety issues. Here is an example and a useable resource from Local 488.
- No visitors: Only essential cast and crew should be allowed on production sites. Absolutely no non-essential personnel permitted on sets, production offices, stage, or construction mills.
- Assign COVID-specific Personnel: Every production should designate a dedicated COVID-19-specific Health & Safety Personnel that manages and enforces the new production protocols required to keep crews safe in a post-pandemic world. In addition a written and agreed to COVID-19-specific health and safety policy needs to be in place on all shoots. This is a requirement for projects utilizing the state incentive programs and by some permitting agencies.
IF YOU FEEL SICK OR HAVE SYMPTOMS
- At home: If you’re feeling sick with fever, cough, muscle pain, sore throat or difficulty breathing, stay home and immediately inform your supervisor. Consider seeking immediate medical care. Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call and inform them of symptoms. If the symptoms persist, please do not report to work until the Production office clears you to be job-ready.
- On the job: Personnel who begin feeling sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing while at work, should immediately inform their supervisor and the COVID-19 Coordinator, and leave the premises if possible. If unable to leave, the sick person should keep wearing their face mask and find an isolated place to wait/rest until the production can arrange transportation. Immediately send home any employee with COVID-19 like symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath, etc.). Enact the Emergency Action Plan (EAP) referenced in the Production Protocols Overview.
SCREENING & TESTING
- Screening:All crew members should be screened prior to access to set, trucks, load-in or off-set work. If the answer is YES to any of the questions below, they will be ineligible to work and MUST STAY HOME:
- Are you experiencing any flu like symptoms such as fever, cough, muscle pain, sore throat or difficulty breathing?
- Have you been exposed to anyone with COVID-19?
- Do you feel sick in any way?
- Testing: Strategic testing for the presence of COVID-19 is critical for a safe return to work. Production will make testing available to all crew and cast when/if/how that’s possible.
- Hold daily safety meetings which specifically discuss COVID-19 issues, along with any other safety discussions scheduled for that day.
- Utilize contact tracing in a responsible manner upon notice of an outbreak. Utilizing a “Zones” system is designed to facilitate contact tracing.
SOCIAL DISTANCING & PERSONAL HYGIENE
- Six-foot rule: Crew and cast should remain six feet away from other people at all times until social distancing restrictions have been lifted. Maintaining 6' of distance at all times, even while wearing masks, is critical especially when it comes to contact tracing protocols instituted at the county level.
- Work ‘pods’ of small numbers: Crews should be minimal in size, function as department cohorts or ‘pods’ and maintain continuity of personnel whenever possible.
- Workflow: For camera or lighting resets, ‘working pods’ should alternate onset work and not crossover.
- Protect cast members: Increase physical space between CAST and other personnel. Only personnel designated by Production should work in close proximity with cast members (i.e. Hair and Make-up). All personnel who work near cast should be masked and wear gloves.
- Physical Contact: Avoid any unnecessary physical contact and touching your face.
- Shared equipment: Avoid using other people’s phones or personal work tools. Any shared tools must be sanitized prior to their hand off to another crew member.
- Viewing monitors: Multiple monitors should be made available to allow people to review footage while maintaining a safe distance.
PPE AND EQUIPMENT & MATERIALS SANITIZING
- Protective gear: Crew should wear protective gear provided by the employer, including face covering, with preference to N95 face masks as long as supplies last. Training and fitting of masks/respiratory devices and all PPE must be provided for proper use per OSHA standards.
- PPE reserves: Extra gloves & masks (at least x3 per crew member), hand sanitizer (including pocket-sized for personal use) and sani-wipes will be provided by production and on-hand at all times.
- Audio gear: Use boom microphones instead of neck/Lav microphones in order to maintain social distancing requirements. Lav mics can be used if sanitized prior to hand off, and talent mic’s themselves.
- Sanitize equipment: All equipment should be sanitized before and after each individual use. Only department members should handle their own gear.
- Sanitize props: All props, set dressing and set pieces should be sanitized if they have or will come in physical contact with the cast.
- Off-set editing: Any editing and post-production should be done remotely in order to limit number of personnel on production sites.
- Catering & Craft Services: Food should be provided as single serve meals with individual utensils, brought to set from Crafts Services or Catering by designated individuals, and delivered to individuals for their own consumption and not shared with others.
REQUIREMENTS SPECIFIC TO LOCATION
- Disinfect interiors: Disinfect location/locations prior to shoot day and let sit sealed and empty for a proscribed period of time before occupation and then again after shooting prior to returning to the owner. Use HEPA filters for air circulation wherever possible.
- Limit access: Limit personnel access inside all locations (i.e. maintain “closed sets” at all times); let crew work in shifts on set and then completely disinfect all areas of locations after completion of photography and before handing over the location to the owners/site representative.
- Limit personnel on location: Based on available space inside a location, put a limit on the number of crew members allowed inside the location at any given time to protect adequate social distancing areas.
Training should be included in the employer’s COVID-19 plan to reduce infection risk and be mandatory on or before the first day of employment.
All employees should be educated about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 as part of their training. People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. Signs and symptoms include the following:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills οr muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
All employees should receive dedicated training on the following topics:
- PPE, with a focus on safe donning and doffing
- Hand washing, including proper techniques
- Environmental cleaning and disinfection, including high-touch wipedown
- Policies and procedures related to COVID-19 on set or in offices
- Psychological impact of the crisis
- Protecting yourself at home
- Preventing cross-contamination
Post signage in all production workspaces where production activities occur, reinforcing training principles.
Other suggestions for training:
MINIMIZING PERSON-TO-PERSON TRANSMISSION
1. Production will provide appropriate PPE:
- Gloves and Masks to be made available to all persons at all times.
- All crew are required to wear appropriate PPE, whenever in studio or on location.
2. Limit general interactions between people on set.
- Essential interaction between people on set should follow safe distancing guidelines as set out by the government, currently six feet.
3. Designated Areas for each Department
- Each department will be allocated a designated area on the studio floor or location for 1) all equipment not being used on set and 2) as standby area for department crew members.
- Required areas include (but not limited to): Director/1st AD/Script Supervisor; Electric; Camera; Grip; Art/Property/Set Dressing; Playback/DIT; Costume and Hair/Makeup Standby etc.
- Any department which can remain on standby outside the studio/location, should do so. This could include any cast holding areas, DIT, Standby Riggers and Construction.
4. Use of Radios and other comms.
- Use of radio communication to be employed to limit close personal contact.
- Clear line of communication to be established from Director or 1st AD > Dept. Head > Department members.
- Dept. Heads or nominated persons to be supplied with open comms style headsets to enable quiet, detailed conversation without the need for close contact or a huddle. Onward instructions to be carried out by walkie-talkie.
5. Limited access to communal work areas.
- Strictly one department “pod” at a time working within the physical constraints of a set — e,g. Camera establishes positions after rehearsal then exits; Grip & Lighting department light the set, then exit; followed by Set Dressing & Property department, etc.). All work to be directed/supervised by relevant Dept. Heads with support from 1st AD.
- If dressing/lighting to camera, time will be allowed to set camera, and for camera team to move away to a safe distance before the next department moves in.
- When not working on the set, crew from other departments should move back to their demarcated areas until required.
- Look for opportunities to move more tasks away from set (i.e., stepping off actor to have a mic repositioned)
Note: These protocols will slow down prep time on set and mean more time will need to be allotted to allow for this safe workflow.
6. Build, Prep and Pre-light days.
- Where prep requires a wider use of the working space within a studio/location, production should endeavor to schedule enough days for departments to work alone and to hand over the set between departments when necessary.
- Time should be allowed to physically mark out the stage for each departmental area prior to the shoot day. Posts/Tape can be used to mark out areas.
- If standby support is required between departments, minimal standby crew to remain on set but must observe guidelines for distancing between departments.
7. Keeping crew off set where possible.
- Wherever possible any member of the crew should stay away from the on-set working environment.
- Production office department to remain off set, in production office at all times. Contact with the shooting crew should be by radio, text, phone and email. Production should determine protocols for all call sheets, reports, and time sheets, etc. to go digital to eliminate the need for paper to be sent between the offices and set.
- H/MU/Costume to allocate dedicated on-set standby artists who remain on set in order to limit movements of crew between off-set areas and the stage.
Remote monitoring for Producers/Execs/Writers (TV/Film) and Agency/Client (Commercials), Standby and Departments.
- Producers/Execs/Writers and Agency/Client stakeholders are encouraged NOT to travel to studio and to make use of remote video conferencing technology if possible.
- If their travel to the studio is unavoidable, Production should provide a room or area, off stage and isolated from the rest of the crew. A production team representative should, in this case, be dedicated to them, and follow the same isolation arrangement.
- Set up a wireless monitoring server on the studio floor to allow all departments to individually monitor the playback on their own devices. Consider allowing closed-network streaming to iPads, iPhones and android devices.
- Set up a secure remote server to provide the same playback footage to stakeholders in a remote locations that have internet access. Log-in codes can be provided.
- Sync on set software can be used to enable remote working for some crew who would normally need to be on set.
Access routes and Fire Lanes within a stage to be kept clear and widened to 6’ width wherever possible. One-way system to be put in place where possible.
10. Hand sanitizer available to each department/crew member, as well as hand washing facilities.
11. Where minivan or shared transport is required to set, vehicles should be allocated and engineered to provide social distancing.
12. Where certain crew are required to move regularly between set and the outside world for the purpose of buying/hiring items for set.
- Observe all distancing measures at other places of business visited.
- PPE to be worn when moving between different areas.
- Establish clear single point of contact with the crew on their return.
- Follow disinfection procedures for anything coming onto set.
Here is a list from the EPA of disinfectants to use against C-19: www.epa.gov/ pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2
MINIMIZING SURFACE-TO-PERSON TRANSMISSION
1. Identify areas likely for cross-contamination
- Any areas which have interaction with multiple and cross departmental members to be identified. Examples of such areas are door handles, bannisters, table areas, dining tables, bathrooms.
2. Establish measures for disinfecting areas of likely cross contamination
- Regular cleaning of such areas to be scheduled by the cleaning crew.
- Set Services or other crew to be allocated to maintain topical on-demand cleaning.
- Cleaning materials (wipes/antibacterial spray, etc) to be made available for any crew member to clean surfaces on demand.
- Hand sanitizer to be made available to all crew or at designated stations for regular hand-cleaning.
- All crew to be encouraged to wash hands regularly.
- Disposable gloves to be made available to all crew.
3. Specific departmental considerations to be taken into account separately – see links below for more details.
4. Use HEPA filters to protect any airflow from spreading infection
5. List from the EPA of disinfectants to use against C-19
EQUIPMENT GENERAL HEALTH & SAFETY PROTOCOLS
1. Disinfect all equipment before delivery to the stage/location.
- Rental companies should ensure that any equipment delivered to a shoot should be fully disinfected before loading, and that all staff handling the equipment should wear gloves at all times when handling equipment.
- Upon arrival to studio/location, all equipment to be loaded directly to its designated department area.
- Production should establish additional protocols if rental equipment is to be further disinfected by allocated personnel before being moved onto set.
- Gloves and suitable disinfection materials to be provided.
2. To avoid any potential cross-contamination, equipment should be handled ONLY by department members responsible for that equipment. In practice this means that no one may assist in carrying any equipment unless they are allocated directly to that department. Where this is unavoidable, production is to provide gloves, masks and hand sanitizer as needed to any temporary help.
3. Production protocols should be established for any equipment or materials which by necessity must cross between departments.
4. Hand sanitizer must be made available to each department/crew member, as well as hand washing facilities.
5. Crew must not touch, move, lean against, sit on, pick up or otherwise disturb any piece of equipment which is not directly under their purview.
6. Consider using UV light cleaners where possible and where they can be safely operated.
7. List from the EPA of disinfectants to use against C-19
8. CDC General Business FAQs
LOCATIONS GENERAL HEALTH & SAFETY PROTOCOLS
1. Base Camp to be situated within walking distance of location, whenever possible.
2. Safe distancing during transit
When equipment and personnel transportation is required, additional vehicles to be provided to ensure safe distancing is not compromised in transit.
3. Sanitizing during transit
Production will provide cleaning of communal areas in transport. Consider providing a cleaning unit to be on hand at all times to constantly sanitize, as well as dedicated “cleaning valet” at honey wagon or other portable bathrooms to clean each bathroom between uses.
4. Masks and Gloves should be worn whenever using communal transport.
Training should be provided to all crew members in how to use and remove gloves, masks and other PPE and calculating measured social distancing
5. Individual private vehicles to be used ONLY where safe and practicable.
6. Dining areas to be expanded in size to allow for adequate distancing measures.
Building-based dining areas (halls, gyms, etc.) offer much safer environments to ensure safe distancing. Sterilization of dining areas should be performed at least 1 day ahead of use and at least one day ahead of returning to owners.
7. Toilet facilities to be increased on a per-person ratio.
Due to their restricted size, a limit to the number of people using a mobile toilet facility at any one time should be considered, depending on the size/design of the facility. A cleaning valet should be assigned to clean after each use.
8. Ventilation of spaces
The risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 through ventilation systems has not been fully studied, but is likely low. Routine HVAC maintenance is recommended. Although it is never the first line of prevention, consider general ventilation adjustments in your workplace, such as increasing ventilation and increasing the amount of outdoor air used by the system. Maintain the indoor air temperature and humidity at comfortable levels for building occupants. Research the use of fans – airflow can help with dispersal of micro-droplets while it can also be shown to spread the micro-droplets. Consider the effects within buildings with enclosed air systems like hotels, restaurants, church halls, etc. The key seems to be ventilation with filtration:
9. Cast holding areas should be expanded in size to allow for adequate distancing measures.
Sterilization of holding areas should be performed at least 1 day ahead of use and at least one day ahead of returning to owners. Ventilation (see above).
10. Where dressing rooms are provided, these rooms/trailers shall be offered on a strict single-occupancy basis, unless provided to members of the same household.
11. Makeup/Hair/Costume facilities will need to be expanded to allow for adequate distancing measures.
Additional trailers may be needed or supplementary large, open plan interior spaces where available
12. Where possible, production parking areas at location should be isolated from any access by members of the public, or persons not engaged on the shoot.
13. Additional consideration should be given to space between working trucks/vehicles to allow for safe distancing guidelines to be observed during loading/unloading/working processes.
14. Appropriate PPE, as determined by the job hazards assessment, is to be used where more than one person is required to unload/carry equipment and 6’ distancing is not possible.
15. Where possible, access routes should not be shared by members of the public, or persons not engaged on the shoot. Try to arrange exclusive use of access points for cast and crew to all locations to minimize third party contact.
16. Where it is possible, attempt to create one-way access routes into and out of locations should be arranged, to avoid crew crossing in confined spaces/corridors.
17. List from the EPA of disinfectants to use against COVID-19
18. CDC General Business FAQs
CREATION OF NEW COVID SPECIFIC POSITIONS
1. COVID Workplace Coordinator
Strongly consider creating a position or designate a person with the authority to make and impose decisions regarding infectious illness policies and procedures—e.g. to have cast/crew go home/further testing, warnings/ consequences for poor illness prevention practices. The IATSE recommends that this position is known as a COVID-19 Workplace Department Head who, ideally, has OSHA Certification, detailed knowledge of OSHA and CDC COVID-19 protocols, and understand production workflow. The COVID Workplace Coordinator would have the following responsibilities:
- Direct and daily communication with Producers and Studio Safety Officer, providing updates on health screenings and safety concerns
- Speaks to the cast/crew directly, conducts safety meetings and provides the cast/crew with Production’s policy on COVID-19 and other infectious illness prevention practices.
- Speaks directly to the cast crew about issues/concerns from an anonymous hotline.
- Works with Set Medic in discussing concerns, and has the sole responsibility to relay those concerns to cast, crew and Production as appropriate. (Note: Medic has no authority to make, impose or enforce, or communicate policies
- Approve illness prevention supplies needed by medic and various departments.
- Receive the daily “Symptom Check” document from Health Screeners every morning. (See System Check Document below)
- Additional positions such as a Deputy COVID Coordinator should be considered:
- Deputy could provide info to crew departments on disinfecting their equipment, trucks, and workspaces according to procedure.
- Deputy could assure departments are in compliance with PPE procedures and provide them with any needed PPE and cleaning supplies.
- Deputy to ask/have purchased and provided by the production office any needed illness prevention supplies e.g. masks, gloves, soap, hand sanitizer, barrier devices etc.
2. Designated COVID Health Screener
- Production should not require health screenings to be added to the Set Medic's job description — which is to provide first aid and assessment in to cast and crew in the event of a medical emergency, not to provide pandemic symptom screenings to dozens, if not hundreds, of people every day.
- Instead, there should be an additional medic designated to perform COVID-related screenings that may identify someone who is potentially ill with COVID-19. The COVID Health Screener would:
- Check the temperature of each crew member in their department when the crew member arrives at the start of their day.
- Document the temperature on a “Symptom Check” document and have the crew member sign the document that states they “attest” that they don't have any of the COVID-19 symptoms.
- Email the “Symptom Check” document as a pdf daily to the COVID Workplace Coord.
3. Disinfection Crew
Production should engage specific Disinfection Crew members whose sole job it is to clean and disinfect the set — excluding each department & craft services responsible for their own areas and equipment. The Disinfection Crew:
- May help other departments with disinfection needs when not busy with their specified tasks.
- Continually disinfects touched surfaces, bathrooms anywhere needed.
- Maintains hand sanitizer at every entry/exit.
- Responds to Medic/Crew/Departments if there is a need for a specific disinfection of an area/surface if needed.
- Works with the production office to help provide to various departments disinfection supplies as needed.
- Communicates inventory needs with Production Office which will purchase COVID-prevention supplies.
4. “Symptom Check” Documentation
This document has the Health Screener’s report and has the crew member’s signature to attest that:
- They do not have any of the COVID-19 symptoms
- They have not been in known proximity of someone infected with COVID-19
- Their household members are free from illness
- Health Screener will record their temperature (and possibly pulse-ox reading and signature)
- The “Symptom Check” doc to be written by the Production Attorney and approved by any Unions or Guilds representing the cast and/or crew.
- This procedure will give some peace of mind to all members of the production and aid in Contact Tracing should it be needed.