The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the Producers Guild of America (PGA) have both announced that they’ll temporarily cease all in-person production work for the time being. At least, in southern California. You know, because of that massive uptick in infection cases? Yeah, it’s that bad.
A lot of shows were originally supposed to have restarted production on January 6, 2021 after the holiday break. Well, not anymore. SAG-AFTRA and PGA have both announced a halting of in-person production in southern California. This halt will last until January 18, 2021; or likely even later. We don’t know yet. Just as we don’t know when this whole COVID-19 surge will end.
When COVID-19 Bad News Become Routine
The PGA have actually released an official announcement about this whole production halt. This is what they have to say, word for word:
Southern California hospitals are facing a crisis the likes of which we have never seen before. Patients are dying in ambulances waiting for treatment because hospital emergency rooms are overwhelmed. This is not a safe environment for in-person production right now. Even putting aside the risk of acquiring COVID on ser — a risk that we have done a great deal to mitigate through our safety protocols — on set production always poses some risk of injury, whether because of a stunt gone wrong, an equipment failure, or a garden-variety fall.
Right now, with few, if any hospital beds available, it is hard to understand how a worker injured on set is supposed to seek treatment. I would like to thank the JPC and the PGA for their efforts to reinforce safety measures for all, and we acknowledge and appreciate the major studios and other producers who have proactively stepped up and postponed their production during this emergency.
So yeah, without any hospital beds available due to all of them being filled up by COVID-19 patients, it makes sense that SAG-AFTRA and PGA would halt production. One little accident during production would turn into a big problem without any hospitals to take care of them. SAG-AFTRA is recommending, but not forbidding, their southern California workers from accepting on-site work for the next several weeks. At least, for when the current surge blows over. Hopefully, that will help contain it for now.
Two major production guilds are shutting down all in-person production in southern California due to COVID-19 reasons. At least, for the next several weeks until January 18, 2021; at least. Hopefully, this measure will stem the tide of infection rates, if only a little bit. At the very least though, this bodes an ominous start to the new year after 2020. Let’s hope this year isn’t a repeat of the last.