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The Art Directors Guild, IATSE Local 800, has released its key recommendations and protocols for a safe return to work during the coronavirus pandemic.

“In the ongoing absence of an industry-wide agreement with either the AMPTP covering filmed entertainment, or the AICP for commercial production, the Art Directors Guild has released their set of key recommendations and protocols for adoption in the workplace,” the ADG said. “These recommendations are intended to address the day to day experience of ADG members and are supplemental to the Industry-Wide White Paper, and the Safe Way Forward with respect to testing and department-specific protocols related to employees represented by DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, Teamsters and the Basic Crafts.”

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Read about all the protocols here.

“We are extremely encouraged by progress being made in industry-wide talks with employers,” said Nelson Coates, the guild’s president. “Considering that commercial production continues, and other forms of film & television prep and production are gearing up even remotely, publishing specific departmental guidance for our members and their employers was prudent and necessary until industry-wide agreements are in place.”

Added Chuck Parker, the guild’s executive director: “While no document will ever address every issue or situation our members encounter, we believe these recommendations will provide an additional layer of protection and safety as they specifically address the unique world of the art departments in filmed entertainment and commercial production.”

In a statement, the guild said that its protocols “are a living document which will be periodically updated based on the real-life workplace experience as members begin to return to work,” and that it “takes the health and safety of its members across the country very seriously. In this time of ongoing pandemic, and especially in light of current spikes in cases throughout the US, the ADG is focused on ensuring its members are in work environments that are crafted to provide the maximum level of protection and disease prevention possible.”

The guild’s “Principles, Key Recommendations and Recommended Departmental Protocols” note that they are based on the most recent data available, but that “given the constantly changing nature of this disease and its prevention, regularly updating these protocols based upon the most current medical information is essential. The health and safety of employees should be the Employer’s number one priority at all times, but especially during this crisis. All employees are individually and collectively responsible for following these guidelines.”

These are the principles set forth in the document:

The health and safety of the general public and all cast and crew is the highest priority. Re-opening the industry and returning to work are also significant and important priorities.
• All local, state, and federal (CDC) public health protocol guidelines must be followed.
• Medical expertise must always guide our decision making with respect to testing, contact tracing, symptom screening and similar protocols that raise medical questions.
• The most effective and broad-based testing and screening must be put into place as part of any return to work protocols.
• To the extent possible, physical distancing shall be maintained. When physical distancing is impracticable, other risk mitigating measures shall be taken as described below.
• Regular, periodic testing of cast and crew for COVID-19 is critical for a safe return to work.
• Universal symptom monitoring, including temperature screening, may be used to further mitigate risk.
• Appropriate and adequate PPE will be provided to cast and crew by the employer. Disposable masks will be replaced each day and reusable masks will be cleaned each day. Employers shall also provide proper means of disposal for all PPE.
• Infection prevention measures will be developed and applied, including physical distancing at all times when possible, enhanced sanitation (high-touch wipe down, disinfection of equipment), and hand hygiene (increased access to hand washing stations, alcohol-based hand sanitizer).
• One or more autonomous COVID-19 Compliance Officer(s) with specialized training, responsibility and authority for COVID-19 safety compliance and enforcement will be in the workplace to address issues as they arise.
• Thorough training on principles of infection prevention, PPE, physical distancing and signs/symptoms of COVID-19 will be provided to all, with role-specific additional training as needed.
• The judgment of Department Heads and their crews, in collaboration with Unit Production Managers (UPMs) and Assistant Directors (ADs), will be considered when structural and logistical changes are made to accommodate the new working practices.
• Individual rights under applicable laws intended to protect against discrimination must be respected and safeguarded to support the maintenance of a non-discriminatory workplace.
• Adequate staffing and space for physical distancing is essential for an effective health and safety plan.
• Limiting crew size and/or attempting to combine jobs leads to inefficient, unsafe work practices. Department Heads and their crews, in collaboration with Line Producers, UPMs and ADs, remain in the best position to manage the staffing needs and scheduling of their departments to achieve the quality and efficiency necessary.
• Resuming production during this time may be highly stressful and cause anxiety. The implementation of mental health resources to support the wellness of those participating in a production may be necessary.
• Cast and crew are encouraged to report problems, ask questions, and suggest solutions to enhance the safety and productivity of the workspaces.
• No one should have to waive their rights or assume liability in order to go back to work. • If people are sick or caring for others who are sick, they must have a paid sick leave option that allows them to stay home without undermining their economic security and forcing them to make dangerous choices.
• Workplace practices that compromise the health and immune systems of employees and contribute to the vulnerability and illness of employees should be eliminated. Limit the duration of workdays and excessive consecutive workdays whenever possible and extend rest periods whenever possible to ensure cast and crew main healthy and receive adequate rest.
• Training to properly implement and adhere to Covid-19 safety guidelines, including the proper utilization of PPE, must be built into each production schedule and budget.

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