Producers Guild Releases Safety Protocols for Working Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

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The Producers Guild of America guidelines recommend 10-hour production days, testing and proper ventilation.

As Hollywood producers continue to seek union approval to resume production, the Producers Guild of America has unveiled its latest health and safety guidelines for production amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 56-page COVID-safety protocols for independent productions, created by the PGA’s production safety task force, use a “producers lens” to break down the guidelines from other unions and guilds as the industry returns to film and TV sets.

The PGA guidelines call for 10 hour production days, “zones” where contact between individuals during a production can be minimized, testing of everyone within 48 hours of starting to work or visiting a production, and ensuring all soundstages, sets, locations, offices and shops, have sufficient outdoor access and ventilation air systems.

“The virus is an invisible threat, and risk cannot completely be eliminated. The use of PPE should be provided and maintained. Because testing sometimes fails, full PPE and social distancing controls will be essential to ensuring a safe work environment,” the PGA guidelines add about the use of protective equipment like face masks and gloves.

The PGA guidelines follow in the wake of a white paper released June 1 by the Industry Wide Labor Management Safety Committee Task Force, whose participants included IATSE and other organizations including AMPTP, SAG-AFTRA and the Directors Guild.

The PGA’s safety plan offers “best processes” to manage cast and crew on set, advice on comprehensive testing and protocols for how to start and stop productions should positive test results arise. There’s also information on budgeting for new COVID-19 precautionary measures.

“I and the task force are honored that we have the opportunity to help pave the way to work safely while continuing to produce great content,” Lori McCreary, former PGA president and CEO of Revelations Entertainment, who led the production safety task force, said in a statement.

“As fellow producers, we all feel the need to get back to work while still making sure that our cast and crew are safe and protected. We hope that our guidelines will help make this new reality possible for independent producers and provide an accessible resource for the broader creative community,” PGA presidents Lucy Fisher and Gail Berman added in their own statement.

The producers group intends to update the guidelines as Hollywood unions issue new guidance of their own and as producers stress test whether their own guidelines are working in the field. The PGA is also creating a “Tips from the Field” online resource where producers and department heads can post tips and insights from film and TV shoots in production.

Members of the PGA Production Safety Task Force are Holly Carter, Cean Chaffin, Yolanda T. Cochran, Mike Farah, Jennifer A. Haire, Gary Lucchesi, Kelly Mendelsohn, Jamie Patricof, Robert Salerno, Stacey Sher, Haley Sweet, Chris Thomes, Sara E. White, Mari Jo Winkler, Harvey Wilson, and Lulu Zezza.

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