In light of the capacity crisis facing Southern California hospitals as a result of the COVID pandemic and an expected increase in post-holiday COVID cases, SAG-AFTRA and organizations representing commercial advertisers and ad agencies and independent film and television producers agreed to recommend a temporary hold on personal production in Southern California. The major studios and streamers have been in production in Southern California until mid-January.
The Joint Policy Committee, LLC (JPC) – the multi-employer negotiating group that represents commercial advertisers and ad agencies – has agreed to recommend that personal commercial production be interrupted in Southern California until more hospital beds become available. The Producers’ Guild of America (PGA) is also encouraging its members to delay production and is releasing its own statement today.
“Hospitals in Southern California are facing a crisis unlike anything we’ve seen before. Patients are dying in ambulances awaiting treatment as hospital emergency rooms are overwhelmed. This is not a safe environment for personal production right now,” said SAG AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris.
Even if we put the risk of COVID aside on set – a risk that we’ve done a lot to mitigate through our safety protocols – on set, production always poses some risk of injury, whether it’s a wrong stunt or for a device. failure or a fall in the garden. Right now, with few or no hospital beds available, it is difficult to understand how an employee injured on set should seek treatment, “said David White, SAG-AFTRA’s National Executive Director.” and thank the PGA for their efforts to strengthen security measures for all, and we recognize and appreciate the major studios and other producers who have proactively stepped up and delayed their production during this emergency. ”
SAG-AFTRA members in Southern California are encouraged to stay at home and not accept permanent employment for the next several weeks. In the event that a Southern California SAG-AFTRA member has to work for the next few weeks and is concerned about their safety on set, they are encouraged to contact the union.
Stacy Marcus, chief negotiator for the JPC, agrees that production risks in Southern California are simply too great at this point: “Commercial producers are strongly encouraged to move their Southern California productions to a later date when the capacity crisis is the hospital has declined. It’s just too great a risk for artists, crew and industry personnel to continue production, knowing that hospitals are in crisis mode and the number of cases continues to rise. “
The call to delay production was also endorsed by the Producers Guild of America, which released a statement of its own asking producers to avoid manufacturing work in the Southern California area until more hospital beds become available: “Independent producers may help the line in this crisis by taking the difficult but responsible step of delaying production for the time being. We can and will do whatever it takes to protect our cast and crew and our community, ”said Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher, the Presidents of PGA.
SAG-AFTRA, the JPC and the PGA will remain in communication with members and the industry as the situation develops. According to David White, “It is too difficult to say at this point when the situation can improve, but we are following closely and will ensure that our members have the information they need to make the best decisions to help themselves and our community. “