Hollywood unions agree on changes to mask guidance, allow for mandatory vaccinations

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Hollywood unions reached a deal on Monday to reduce some masking requirements while allowing for producers to require crews and cast to be vaccinated.

The changes allow for fully vaccinated cast and crew to reduce outdoor mask use and updates the mealtime protocols. Producers may require vaccinations for casts and crew on a case-by-case basis.

Testing frequency can be reduced for areas in the United States and Canada where COVID-19 rates are low.

The Directors Guild of America, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Basic Crafts, Screen Actors Guild and the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers announced the tentative agreement on adjustments to the set safety protocol.

Deadline politics editor Ted Johnson told KNX the agreement makes economic sense for the studios.

“The worst thing that can happen to a production is they can begin shooting a movie, they can begin shooting a tv show and then you have to shut it down,” said Johnson.

“You expose yourself to potential huge losses and that’s why insurance companies are extremely strict about putting all these measures in place.”

The agreement is expected to lower costs in an industry that lost an estimated 300 million jobs during the pandemic.

The changes were agreed upon by the unions “with the ongoing goal of keeping casts, crews and all set workers safe,” according to a joint statement.

The industry’s COVID-19 Safety Agreement was first enacted in September 2020 after productions were forced to shut for months.

According to the unions, “The protocols have driven a successful rebound of film and television production while prioritizing safety for casts, crews and all on-set workers.”

The hard-hit industry is set to receive a boost in California, with an expected additional $330 million in tax incentives for the film and television industry.

The tentative changes will remain in effect through September 30, 2021. All unions agreed to continue to monitor COVID-19 developments and will consider further changes.