Mask On, Roll Camera: LA County Greenlights Hollywood Production Restart

Proskauer - California Employment Law
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Proskauer - California Employment Law

As we previously reported, last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom and California’s State Public Health Officer cleared the music, film and television industry to resume work no earlier than this Friday, June 12, 2020, subject to county-by-county approval.  On June 10, 2020, Los Angeles County Director of Public Health, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, announced that she was in agreement and authorized the resumption of film and television production in Los Angeles County, effective June 12, 2020.

Late yesterday, Dr. Ferrer issued an updated Health Officer Order that officially permits music, film and television production to resume in the nation’s largest entertainment production location.  The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health also issued industry-specific reopening protocols for the music, film and television production industries.  Among other things, the protocols:

  • Mandate designation of one or more COVID-19 compliance officers;
  • Require that all employees and visitors wear face coverings whenever they are in contact with others, unless the production activity does not allow it;
  • Require, for television and film production, regular, periodic testing of cast and crew, especially for those cast and crew that are involved in “high risk scenes requiring close contact without face coverings for extended periods;”
  • Require, for one-time productions operating on shorter schedules and smaller music recording sessions, all work be planned to eliminate close physical contact as much as possible;
  • Mandate remote or in-person (upon arrival) symptom checks before any employee enters the workplace, in addition to temperature checks at the worksite, if feasible;
  • Prohibit open calls, and encourage casting to be performed remotely or, if in-person, with appointments to limit crowds;
  • Require that any work requiring cast or crew to be closer than six feet to be as brief as possible and, during such periods, require that cast members “be as silent as possible to avoid spreading droplets through talking;”
  • Discourage scenes involving direct, prolonged contact between cast members (e.g., intimate scenes, fight scenes, etc.) or large crowds; and
  • Prohibit buffet-style craft services and any communal food or drinks.

In addition to the new County protocols, pursuant to the State Health Officer’s reopening authorization, music, film and television employers also must adhere to protocols agreed to by labor and management, which may encompass the recommendations set forth in the June 1, 2020 industry-wide labor management task force white paper.  However, per the task force’s white paper, more specific protocols, including department-specific procedures, may need to be agreed upon between management and labor.  We will continue to monitor this developing situation.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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