Hollywood’s Strict COVID Protocols Will Remain in Place Until January

Hollywood’s Strict COVID Protocols Will Remain in Place Until January
Tom Cruise during the filming of the seventh Mission: Impossible movie. (Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/Getty, Getty Images)

After initially grinding to a halt in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. film industry gradually began to wind back up last year, albeit with new protocols put in place designed to make production sets — places where people are required to interact closely with one another in tight spaces — as safe as possible.

With no immediate end to the pandemic in sight, standardised procedures like regular on-site testing, strict mandatory social distancing, and mask-wearing were agreed upon by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, Screen Actors Guild, Directors Guild of America, and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees as being necessary steps to prevent the virus’ spread on film sets. Initially, the new protocols were meant to expire in late April, but they were extended as the pandemic continued. Though film sets have adjusted to this new normal to varying degrees, because the pandemic’s not yet over, Hollywood’s agreed to keep playing it safe until next January.

Deadline reports that the current protocols in place will now be extended until January 15, at which point teams from the respective unions will likely reconvene to reassess the situation. The latest extension comes at a time when some film studios have announced plans to begin requiring all employees on film sets, which are work places, to also be vaccinated against the virus in addition to adhering to safety precautions. It’s unclear exactly how much reticence there still is throughout Hollywood about getting with the program in terms of taking COVID-19 seriously, but there’s little question that the studios themselves are still taking this quite seriously.