COVID-19

Hollywood has a back-to-work agreement

Jasmine Garsd Sep 24, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace
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A sign at Paramount Pictures Studios in Los Angeles. David McNew/Getty Images
COVID-19

Hollywood has a back-to-work agreement

Jasmine Garsd Sep 24, 2020
A sign at Paramount Pictures Studios in Los Angeles. David McNew/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

After months of wrangling, Hollywood studios, talent and trade unions have reached an agreement on how to safely restart production.

Some filming has been happening months into the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with safety protocols on set decided on a case-by-case basis. This larger agreement comes after months of back and forth over how the hard-hit film and TV industry should get back on its feet

It’s looking better for dozens of shows that halted filming, like “Stranger Things.”

A new agreement between unions and studios includes guidelines for diligent use of personal protective equipment, instructions for crews to be  grouped into zones according to proximity to cast and everyone’s ability to physically distance.  

It took several months to get there. One of the major sticking points in negotiations was COVID-19-related expenses, which aren’t small. Shooting of the movie “Jurassic World: Dominion” reportedly required 27,000 COVID-19 tests. That’s around $3 million. 

Jason Squire, the editor of “The Movie Business Book,” said even on smaller productions, it adds up. COVID-19 means extra personnel, COVID advisers and “the other issue is insurance. There is still no blanket policy that includes COVID-19,” Squire said.

But the new agreement has more assurances for actors and other employees on set. Under the new terms, those who get sick will receive up to 10 days paid, and those who must quarantine will also get paid.  

Actress Emma Ramos is happy about the clear guidelines. She’s back on set and just filmed her first intimate scene since the pandemic. 

She said even though everyone is tested regularly, “I was hesitant.”

They rehearsed with masks. They got one take. Then, “applause. And then, obviously, immediately again with a nurse and then another test.”

Back to reality.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

What’s going to happen to retailers, especially with the holiday shopping season approaching?

A report out recently from the accounting consultancy BDO USA said 29 big retailers filed for bankruptcy protection through August. And if bankruptcies continue at that pace, the number could rival the bankruptcies of 2010, after the Great Recession. For retailers, the last three months of this year will be even more critical than usual for their survival as they look for some hope around the holidays.

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