Hollywood’s Covid Protocols Get Expiration Date; Vaccine Mandate Will End

Hollywood’s Covid protocols will expire on May 12, and the vaccination mandate — which gave producers the right to require Covid vaccinations as a condition of employment — will end for all productions except those that were implemented prior to May 12, which can continue to apply for the remainder of the production or the season.

The Return-to-Work Agreement had been set to expire on Saturday.

First enacted in September 2020 per an agreement between the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers and Hollywood’s unions —  SAG-AFTRA, the DGA, IATSE, the Teamsters and others — the protocols allowed productions to rebound after an industrywide lockdown early on in the pandemic. The protocols originally had been set to expire on April 30, 2021, but were extended nearly a dozen times, including in June 2021, when producers were given “the option to implement mandatory vaccination policies for casts and crew in Zone A on a production-by-production basis.” Zone A, where unmasked actors work, is the most restrictive of the safe work zones on sets.

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The most recent extension of the protocols was in January.

A statement issued today by the AMPTP says:

“The Return to Work Agreement, set to expire on April 1, 2023, will now will continue to remain in effect through May 11, 2023. As of May 12, 2023, the Return to Work Agreement will terminate.  

“The date coincides with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ end to the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency declaration on May 11.

“All employees shall have a total of five (5) days of temporary COVID-19 paid sick leave per Producer, which may be used during the period beginning April 2, 2023 and ending on December 31, 2023, to cover one or more Eligible COVID-19 Events

“Any production which has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy for employees in Zone A prior to May 12, 2023 may continue to apply that mandatory vaccination policy for the remainder of the production (or season, in the case of a series).”

Unions signing off on the agreement to end the protocols include the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Teamsters Local 399, IBEW Local 40, LiUNA! Local 724, OPCMIA Local 755 and UA Local 78.

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