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Hollywood Unions OK Return to Production in SoCal

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(Image credit: Getty Images (Lapandr))

LOS ANGELES—The return to production amid the ongoing presence of COVID-19 in Southern California has the support of SAG-AFTRA, the Producers Guild of America (PGA) and the Joint Policy Committee (JPC), as the three groups have agreed to lift their recommendation to pause production issued at the start of January.

When COVID-19 cases were surging in Los Angeles and other areas of Southern California, SAG-AFTRA, PGA and JPC, which represents commercial advertisers and advertising agencies, recommended a hold on independent production of TV, film and commercials, calling it an unsafe environment for in-person production.

Major studios also put a brief pause on production, but in many cases they returned in the middle of January. The trio of SAG-AFTRA, PGA and JPC will lift their recommended restrictions officially on Monday, Feb. 1.

“While commercial and independent production may return to Southern California at this time, the parties maintain that film and television productions must abide by the industry-issued COVID-safety protocols and will continue to monitor and consider orders or recommendations issued by the Public Health Department,” the groups said in a statement. “Additionally, SAG-AFTRA and the JPC will move forward with reviewing commercial productions to help ensure that safety on set is maintained for members and industry personnel.”

Those efforts for maintaining safe sets have their own issues, however. A report from BuzzFeed News details how those appointed to monitor COVID-safety protocols on set are often going unsupported.

For its part, PGA has issued its own safety guide, “COVID Safety Protocols for Producing Independent Productions.” The full guide can be found on PGA’s website