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Hollywood has a back-to-work agreement

Jasmine Garsd Sep 24, 2020
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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
Heard on:
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

What’s the outlook for vaccine supply?

Chief executives of America’s COVID-19 vaccine makers promised in congressional testimony to deliver the doses promised to the U.S. government by summer. The projections of confidence come after months of supply chain challenges and companies falling short of year-end projections for 2020. What changed? In part, drugmakers that normally compete are now actually helping one another. This has helped solve several supply chain issues, but not all of them.

How has the pandemic changed scientific research?

Over the past year, while some scientists turned their attention to COVID-19 and creating vaccines to fight it, most others had to pause their research — and re-imagine how to do it. Social distancing, limited lab capacity — “It’s less fun, I have to say. Like, for me the big part of the science is discussing the science with other people, getting excited about projects,” said Isabella Rauch, an immunologist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Funding is also a big question for many.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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