Hollywood Extends COVID-19 Protocols for All Productions Into February

Hollywood's COVID-19 protocols have been extended into February for all productions. The announcement came from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on Monday (via Variety). This is just the latest extension of the protocols—first established in September 2020—which have been in place in their current version since July 2021 and were initially set to expire on September 30th last year. The new extension will see the protocols remain in place through February 13th, though negotiations are expected to take place again in early February and may see the protocols extended again. 

The protocols cover a variety of measures intended to suppress the spread of COVID-19, including vaccine mandates, masking, quarantining, strict testing, and other measures. Currently, the protocols allow for productions to impose vaccine mandates for workers in "Zone A", the set of a production including actors among others. Those not in "Zone A" are not subject to the vaccine mandate. 

According to an email sent to members by the Directors Guild of America, the extension of the protocols was reached before the Omicron surge and further changes could be made when negotiations take place early next month. The initial return-to-work protocols were initially established by an agreement between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and Hollywood's unions, the Directors Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, the Teamsters, and the Hollywood Basic Crafts.

The ongoing coronavirus has been a continuing challenge for the entertainment industry across the globe. Recently, filming on Julia Roberts and George Clooney's romantic comedy Ticket to Paradise was halted due to a COVID-19 outbreak in Queensland, Australia while some films, including the latest Scream film, have cancelled their red carpet premieres due to COVID-19 surges. Even awards ceremonies have seen delays due to COVID cases, with the Critics Choice Awards being delayed due to rising case numbers. Even television has bene impacted with Fox's new television series, Monarch, delaying their premiere until fall due to the pandemic.

What do you think about the latest extension of Hollywood's COVID-19 protocols? Do you think that they will be extended again or modified to be more stringent with the next set of negotiations? Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comment section.