Hollywood’s COVID-19 Set Protocols Stay In Effect As Talks Keep Up Over New Agreement

by Asif Ali
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As Los Angeles experiences a recent uptick in cases driven by spring break and the spread of subvariant BA.2, insiders say the next agreement will likely maintain current safety measures, while potentially loosening up testing requirements.

Negotiations will continue next week regarding modifications to Hollywood’s COVID-19 Safety Agreement, which expires this weekend (April 30). The protocols in the current agreement between the industry’s major guilds and studios will remain in place until a new agreement is reached.

But even without an announcement, insiders don’t expect drastic changes to the latest version of the nearly two-year-old health and safety agreement as COVID spread remains in flux and local production continues to surge.

This round of discussions is unlikely to yield significant updates to the deal, say two union sources. “It’s just going to continue; they’ll just extend the end date of the agreement,” says one union insider, who preferred to remain unnamed. IATSE Local 871 business representative Patric Abaravich, who is not one of the agreement’s labor-side negotiators but has been kept in the loop on conversations, also says he’s heard the talks have been heading in the direction of maintaining the current status quo. “We’re trying to keep those protocols as high as possible for our members because we work in an environment where the transmission can run rampant,” Abaravich says. He says the general attitude is, “When in doubt, extend it” to “keep the job site and work sites the safest possible.”

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