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Hollywood Proposes New COVID-19 Protocols for Entertainment Industry

Hollywood, a major economic engine in the U.S., collectively submitted new safety protocols to state leaders in California and New York that would lead to resumption of film and TV productions in those states following shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Among the safety protocols recommended by entertainment business leaders and union officials were elimination of buffet-style food service, face masks to be worn by live audiences, and having a COVID-19 compliance officer on every set.

The guidelines were submitted to California Governor Gavin Newsom and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The new practices were outlined in a white paper produced by a labor-management safety task force that included the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the Teamsters, SAG-AFTRA, Directors Guild of America and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Studios involved in the effort included Amazon Studios, Apple Studios, CBS Studios, Columbia Pictures, Disney Television Studios, Fox Corporation, HBO, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount Pictures Corporation, Sony Pictures Television, Walt Disney Pictures and Warner Bros. Entertainment.

The task force recommended mandatory testing of cast and crew, including temperature screening and making sure PPE is provided. In the case of live shows, they would be permitted on case-by-case basis and provided audiences wear face coverings, follow six-foot social distancing guidelines and get screened for symptoms.

Other recommendations include organizing departments into smaller groups, staggering call times, and incorporating technologies such as remote monitoring in an effort to reduce how many people are on a set at a time.

The task force wrote in the report that it “…recognizes that many of the recommendations outlined in this document represent considerable changes in current workflows and processes. The recommendations will need to be applied to specific circumstances, and their application will need to be flexible, bearing in mind the utmost priority of safety considerations on production.”

*Photo credit: Tomasz Wozniak,

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About Dennis Kaiser

Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services. In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company. In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix. Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator. Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements. Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.