In a message to members on Tuesday, SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris and national executive director David White said that many productions will remain on hiatus for the next few weeks as Los Angeles County experiences a continued surge in COVID-19 cases.
“We are writing to let you know that we are closely monitoring the recent surge in COVID-19 infections along with the reported lack of intensive care unit (ICU) beds throughout the state of California and particularly in Los Angeles County,” the message begins. “This is deeply concerning to us all and we have taken immediate action to connect with our epidemiologists and public health experts regarding the surge in cities across the nation.”
As a result, SAG-AFTRA has recommended that productions extend their holiday breaks.
“Most entertainment productions will remain on hiatus until the second or third week of January if not later,” the statement reads. “This means that the number of our member performers working on sets right now is reduced. Our safety protocols ensure appropriate precautions for the holiday hiatus period including additional time for testing prior to the resumption of production.”
Carteris and White noted that SAG-AFTRA has contacted epidemiologists and public health experts regarding the surge in order to ensure “the safest possible work environment,” and will continue to monitor the situation.
Gov. Gavin Newsom extended Southern California’s stay-at-home order on Tuesday for at least another three weeks, citing rising COVID-19 cases and rapidly dwindling hospital capacity. The current order will remain in place until ICU capacity projections reach 15%.
On Monday, the L.A. County Department of Public Health asked the film industry to “strongly consider pausing” production for the next few weeks. Currently, several CBS Studios shows, including “NCIS,” have announced plans to extend their hiatus by one week.