6-1-2020 The "White Paper"

White Paper

Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers

Industry-Wide Labor- Management Safety Committee Task Force

Proposed Health and Safety Guidelines

for Motion Picture, Television, and Streaming Productions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Submitted: June 1, 2020


The Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force (the “Task Force”) respectfully submits the following guidelines for consideration and adoption for the resumption of motion picture, television, and streaming productions in an environment that minimizes the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. These recommendations set forth the consensus of the Task Force and outline guidance regarding protective measures to be used, including regular screening, diagnostic testing, use of personal protective equipment, cleaning and disinfecting work sites, and appropriate response should an employee contract COVID-19 or be exposed to it.

The proposed recommendations were developed by the Task Force at the request of and in collaboration with the various unions of the  motion  picture and  television industry and  the  Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which collectively exercised final control over their content, based on the input provided. The Task Force consists of the International  Alliance  of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and its West Coast Studio Local Unions, as  well  as  its New  York Local Unions, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters as well as the Basic  Crafts  Unions,  the  Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Directors Guild  of  America as well as the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and other representatives    of the producers. The  guidelines  are  based  on  discussions  with  health  experts,  guidelines  issued by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and  input  from  industry  participants  familiar  with  the  working  conditions of motion picture and television production. The participants in the Task Force are listed in the Appendix.

While these guidelines and protocols address many elements  of  production,  productions  must  consult applicable state and local public health orders as well as applicable federal and state OSHA guidelines. These recommendations are intended to address the circumstances under  which production can safely resume. The Task Force  recognizes  that  COVID-19  is  a  new  disease  and  many of the facts surrounding COVID-19 are still being determined. Several elements of the protocols including testing and PPE are subject to  further discussion and  agreement between the  Employers  and the Unions and Guilds representing the cast and crew. As  circumstances  change,  and  public  health officials issue new guidance, the protocols under which production occurs may be adjusted accordingly.

Table of Contents                                                                                                                                    3

Guiding Principles                                                                                                                                   4

Reopening Process                                                                                                                                   6

Infection Control                                                                                                                                     7

Diagnostic Testing                                                                                                                                   7

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)                                                                                                       7

Hand Hygiene                                                                                                                           8

Disinfection and Maintenance                                                                                                   8

Props, Costumes, Accessories, Wigs, and other Specialty Items                          9

Personal Equipment                                                                                          10

Vehicles                                                                                                           10

Paper                                                                                                               10

Food and Beverages                                                                                                                 11

Beverages                                                                                                        12

General Infection Prevention Issues                                                                                          12

Protecting and Supporting Cast and Crew Health and Safety                                               13

Designated COVID-19 Compliance Officer                                                                             13

Symptom Screening                                                                                                                  14

Development of Symptoms                                                                                                       14

Leave Policies                                                                                                                           14

Physical Distancing                                                                                                                                 15

Meetings                                                                                                                                 15

Writers’ Rooms                                                                                                                         15

Video Village                                                                                                                             15

Audiences                                                                                                                                15

Working Remotely (Telecommuting)                                                                                           15

Shared Workspaces                                                                                                                  15

Training and Education                                                                                                                           16

Unique Production-Specific Concerns                                                                                             17

Special Considerations for Cast and Crew Working in Close Proximity to Performers                  17

Special Considerations for Performers                                                                                       17

Personal Protective Equipment for Performers                                                 18

Casting and Auditions                                                                                       18

Minors                                                                                                             19

Animal Performers                                                                                           19

Transportation                                                                                                                         19

Special Considerations for Travel                                                                                                20

Special Considerations for Filming on Location                                                                           20

Outdoor Locations                                                                                            21

Indoor Locations                                                                                              21

Scouting                                                                                                           21

Appendix                                                                                                                                                     22

List of Participants                                                                                                                    22

Medical Consultant                                                                                                                   22

Special Thanks                                                                                                                          22


Guiding Principles

The intent of this White Paper is to establish recommendations for governments to authorize the safe resumption of motion picture and television production activities within their jurisdiction. These guiding principles may evolve over time. In addition to the recommendations provided in this White Paper, the Unions, Guilds and Employers have acknowledged the need to develop department- specific operational protocols and project-specific workflows, which will be subject to further discussion and agreement between the Employers and the respective Unions and Guilds representing the cast and crew. All have agreed to develop those protocols and workflows separately once government authorizes production to resume. Guiding principles underlying these recommendations are:

  • 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 state, local, and federal (CDC) public health guidelines will be followed.
  • 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 as necessary. Disposable masks will be replaced each day and reusable masks will be cleaned each day.
  • Medical expertise must always guide decision making with respect to testing, contact tracing, symptom screening and similar protocols that raise medical questions.
  • 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.
  • 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. Options could include:
    • Emotional support hotline
    • Telemedical health and behavioral health resources
    • Mindfulness training; and

Provision of online tools and resources.

  • Paid leave policies shall be flexible and non-punitive to allow sick and quarantined employees to stay away from co-workers and the general public. These paid leave policies will be implemented to encourage compliance with infection prevention guidelines.
  • The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) Hierarchy of Control will guide approaches to mitigate risk:
    • Systems will be employed to assess health/wellness of all personnel prior to entry onto set.
    • Engineering and administrative controls will be developed and emphasized whenever feasible.
    • When engineering and administrative controls are not feasible, personal protective equipment (PPE) will be used.
  • Cast and crew are encouraged to report problems, ask questions and suggest solutions to enhance the safety and productivity of the workspaces.
  • The CDC advises that those over age 65 and those with co-morbidities consult with their healthcare providers regarding the risks of COVID-19.
  • Given the dynamic and evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, these interim guidelines will likely need to be modified and adapted as circumstances change.

Note: Numerous different job roles are involved in the industry, including pre- and post-production staff, cast, crafts persons, laborers, and many others. To avoid confusion, the term “cast and crew” is used throughout to refer to any/all individuals who are involved in the production process.

Note on nomenclature: to maintain consistency with public health and medical guidelines, COVID-19  refers to the name of the clinical syndrome  caused  by  the virus referred to as SARS-CoV-2.

Reopening Process

Production may resume upon the approval of public health authorities based on the Roadmap to Recovery Framework. A staged reopening process may be necessary, with entertainment industry sectors reopening sequentially based on risk and public health authority approval. For example, aspects of pre- and post-production activities may be deemed lower risk and could reopen sooner than production activities. 

In accordance with these plans, this document addresses the following critical areas of concern:

  1. Infection control
  2. Protecting and supporting cast and crew health and safety
  3. Physical distancing
  4. Training and education
  5. Unique production-specific concerns

The Task Force 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.

Reopening Process

Infection Control

Diagnostic Testing

Regular, periodic testing of the cast and crew will be used to mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19. Employers will utilize current effective testing protocols that must be developed in conjunction with, and approved by, the Unions and Guilds.

Employers, Unions and Guilds shall rely upon medical experts for advice and guidance. As tests are developed and others become more accurate, the testing protocols shall also change. Employers should advise cast and crew that they will be subject to testing as a condition of employment and of continued employment.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The Task Force recommends use of face coverings at all times when on set or at production/studio facilities workspaces, except when not feasible as noted below. These will be provided by employers to all cast and crew at no cost and meet applicable regulatory guidelines (CDC, Public Health, NIOSH, OSHA) as appropriate. Medical masks, cloth masks and face shields reduce the transfer of saliva and respiratory droplets to people close to the wearer. Appropriate training in donning, doffing, cleaning and safe PPE use is required. The Task Force recommends all cast and crew be issued personal face coverings that are assigned to the individual and are not shared with others; there shall not be a common central pool of shared face shields or face coverings.

The Task Force recommends against universal glove use by all cast and crew. Gloves may lead to a false sense of security and may actually increase risk, particularly due to self-contamination while donning and doffing. Instead, effective and frequent hand hygiene with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub is imperative, along with avoidance of touching the eyes, nose or mouth. However, gloves may be worn as infection prevention PPE when touching potentially contaminated commonly shared equipment is unavoidable and equipment cannot feasibly be disinfected (e.g., lighting/ electrical cables, worn costumes, etc.) Adequate training in glove use, including safe doffing, will be required. Non-medical (work) gloves shall be worn as usual when appropriate.

PPE may be disposed of as regular (non-biohazard) waste. Ample trash receptacles shall be available, and these shall be emptied regularly. ​

Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene is a cornerstone of infection prevention and will need to be practiced widely in entertainment industry work environments. Given the potential concern about transmission of COVID-19 via contact, enhanced hand hygiene measures are critical. Hand washing with soap and water is considered more effective than hand sanitizer in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

The Task Force recommends the following regarding hand hygiene:


  • Cast and crew should avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Hand washing facilities with running water, soap and paper towels (dispensed using a non-touch system, if possible), adequate for the number of cast and crew, shall be available and accessible from the first day of work.
  • Hand washing facilities shall be kept clean and well-stocked.
  • When production is taking place where hand washing facilities are not readily available, mobile hand washing stations shall be provided.

    Stations with alcohol-based hand rub (“hand sanitizer”) with at least 60% alcohol shall be strategically placed around work areas and readily accessible.
  • Sufficient supplies of hand sanitizer shall be stocked and maintained.
  • Cast and crew shall be provided with pocket-sized hand sanitizer that can be used if hand washing or sanitizing stations are not available, such as in vehicles or remote locations.
  • Cast and crew should be trained on hand hygiene practices (washing for a minimum of 20 seconds of duration, scrubbing all surfaces).
  • Production should encourage and promote opportunities for cast and crew to practice hand hygiene and perform disinfectant wipe downs of high-touch areas.
  • Hands should be washed or sanitized:
  • Upon arriving at the job site;
  • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing;

 After using the restroom;

  • Before and after eating or drinking; ο After contact with animals or pets; ο After handling shared equipment or objects;
  • After cleaning or disinfecting equipment, tools or workspaces; and
  • At other appropriate times throughout the workday.
  • Signage should be posted prominently with instructions on how to stop the spread of COVID-19, including hand hygiene and PPE instructions.

Disinfection and Maintenance

Heightened cleaning and disinfection should be practiced. Those responsible for performing cleaning should adhere to the following recommendations and any other guidance issued by public health authorities with respect to cleaning practices. 

  • Appropriate, EPA-registered disinfecting methods and supplies with a claim against SARS-CoV-2 shall be available in all workspaces.​
  • High-touch surfaces shall be wiped down periodically with appropriate, EPA-registered disinfectant, following the disinfectant manufacturer’s instructions (e.g., safety requirements, protective equipment, concentration, contact time). Examples of high-touch surfaces are tables, doorknobs, countertops, phones, faucets, etc.
  • Productions and a COVID-19 Compliance Officer (discussed below) will work with all departments to review and implement

    specific plans for disinfection of department- specific equipment. Departments will review specific workflows and identify ways to ensure disinfection of equipment and physical distancing (e.g., cleaning of camera dollies, use of remote focus devices, lights). 
  • All workspaces should be cleaned with increased frequency, with an emphasis on high-touch surfaces.
    • Whenever possible, minimize use of shared office equipment such as copiers and fax machines. When use of such equipment is unavoidable, hand hygiene should be performed after use.
  • Manufacturer’s cleaning instructions should be followed for cleaning of sensitive equipment such as electronics.
  • Production on set and work off set should designate specific individuals to perform high-touch wipe down, with an emphasis on shared spaces and equipment.
  • Shared workspaces should be cleaned daily with an emphasis on high-touch surfaces, including but not limited to production sets, studios, dressing rooms, hair and make-up stations, trailers, on- and off-production offices, break areas, shops and eating/meal areas.
  • Dedicated cleaning crews should clean common spaces at appropriate daily intervals.

Props, Costumes, Accessories, Wigs, and Other Specialty Items

Due to inability to clean many of these objects, special care should be taken.

As many of these items have unique cleaning requirements, those responsible for cleaning such items will do so in the customary manner.

  • Hand props (other than those with unique cleaning requirements) shall be cleaned and disinfected before and after use.
  • Hands shall be cleaned before and after handling props, accessories and other items.


Personal Equipment

  • Personal equipment (such as tools, headsets, microphones and radios) shall be cleaned and disinfected before being issued and then at least once per day. Manufacturer’s suggested cleaning instructions should be followed for electronics and other sensitive items.
  • Equipment such as radios/walkie-talkies will be issued to a single cast or crew member and used exclusively by that cast or crew member for the duration of production.
  • Personal items or equipment that must be shared between members of the cast and/or crew must be wiped down with disinfectant between use and hand hygiene shall be performed after handling.


  • High-touch surfaces in vehicles (e.g., steering wheels, controls, seatbelts, door handles, arm rests) shall be cleaned at least once per day and prior to a change in operator or passenger.


  • Whenever possible, use of paper should be minimized. Alternatives such as electronic scripts and electronic sign-in/out should be explored.
  • Consider alternatives to petty cash to minimize the need to handle paper money, such as purchase cards.
  • When paper scripts are unavoidable, they should be assigned to a specific individual, clearly labeled with their name, and not shared between others.
  • Crew lists, call sheets, production reports and other similar documents should be electronic whenever possible.
  • When use of shared paperwork is required, such as blueprints or editing binders, hand hygiene before and after handling is recommended.

Food and Beverages

COVID-19 is unlikely to be spread through food or beverages; however, catering, crafts service and eating within workspaces present several unique challenges.

  • Those responsible for preparing and distributing food must clean their hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer prior to beginning food preparation and/or distribution and regularly thereafter.
  • All local public health regulations regarding preparing and distributing food must be followed, including regulations regarding the use of appropriate food service PPE (hair nets, gloves, and face coverings), safe food temperatures, etc., and all personnel responsible for the preparing and/or distribution of food must be properly certified to do so.
  • As face coverings cannot be worn while eating, adequate eating space must be provided to ensure physical distancing can be maintained during meal periods.​
  • Hand washing facilities and/or hand sanitizer must be readily accessible at the entrance of any designated eating area and shall be used when entering and leaving the area.
  • Meal times should be staggered in a manner designed to avoid the gathering of large groups in the same location at the same time.
  • All eating surfaces shall be cleaned and disinfected before and after use.
  • Eliminate communal “buffet style” food service, including salad bars, trays of food, or any food service that requires sharing of utensils such as serving spoons or tongs. Meals and snacks should be served in individually packaged or wrapped portions. Avoid shared communal trays or bowls.
  • Eating utensils should be disposable and individually wrapped.
  • Cast and crew should not leave the job site to obtain food during the course of the workday.
  • Off-production offices, meeting rooms and other workspaces should have infection control protocols for use, especially when used for providing impromptu meals, snacks and coffee. Likewise, break rooms, microwaves, dishes and food deliveries will require regular cleaning and physical distancing.
  • If food is to be delivered to the job site, one or more individual(s) should be designated to receive the delivery. Appropriate PPE should be worn when interacting with the delivery person and hand hygiene should be performed after handling the delivery. Cast and crew who bring their own food are encouraged to bring food that does not require refrigeration or heating/microwaving.
  • Consider options for cast and crew to place orders ahead of time to minimize the amount of time they must wait in line. Consider addition of plexiglass (or similar) barriers between servers and cast and crew.
  • Avoid using or sharing items such as menus or condiments such as salt and pepper shakers. These items should be disposable and single serve.


  • Drinks should be individually packaged or, if drinks are to be dispensed from a water station, soda fountain, coffee machine or similar equipment, receptacles should not come into contact with dispensers.

General Infection Prevention Issues

  • Limit the duration of workdays and excessive consecutive workdays whenever possible.
  • Physical contact should be avoided, including shaking hands, “high fives,” fist or elbow bumps, or hugging. Physical contact related to performers is discussed below.
  • Visitors to set should be limited unless absolutely necessary. If visitors are provided access, they will be subject to the same guidance as cast and crew, including the need for symptom screening and PPE requirements.
  • Union representatives exercising their rights to visit workspaces will be subject to the safety guidelines required of a visitor.
  • All cast and crew should avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
  • In indoor spaces, ventilation systems and other measures should be used to increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible (e.g., by opening windows and doors, using fans and other methods).
  • Stagger cast and crew call and wrap times to limit the number of individuals arriving to and departing from work simultaneously.
  • In the course of performing their duties, various cast and crew members may enter retail establishments during the workday. Applicable public health guidance should be followed, including use of face coverings. They should carry hand sanitizer and practice hand hygiene before entering retail establishments and after exiting.

Protecting and Supporting Cast and Crew Health and Safety

Designated COVID-19 Compliance


  • An autonomous COVID-19 Compliance Officer(s) with specialized training and responsibility and authority for COVID-19 safety compliance and enforcement will be in the workplace to address issues as they arise. COVID-19 safety plan oversight and enforcement shall be the principal responsibilities of the COVID-19 Compliance Officer(s), provided they may be assigned additional responsibilities related to workplace safety. 
  • COVID-19 Compliance Officers will undergo specialized training on health and safety precautions, policies and procedures related to infection prevention practices including COVID-19 prevention, disinfection and PPE.
  • Specific duties and responsibilities of the COVID-19 Compliance Officer(s) may include, but are not limited to, overseeing and monitoring physical distancing, testing, symptom monitoring, disinfecting protocols, and PPE education, protocols and adherence and such other duties as may be determined by the employer. A COVID-19 Compliance Officer shall be accessible in the workplace at all times during work hours and all personnel should have access to the COVID-19.

  Compliance Officer(s). All cast and crew shall be informed who the COVID-19 Compliance Officer is and how to contact him or her.

  • In addition to the COVID-19 Compliance Officer, there should be a communication/ hotline system to respond to all cast and crew safety questions and concerns (including pre-, post- and off-production offices/spaces). The system shall allow for anonymous reporting.
  • Productions should consider engaging a board-certified infectious diseases physician or infection preventionist with certification in infection control (CIC) to assist with development of specific workflows and operational implementation.

Protecting and Supporting Cast and Crew Health and Safety

  • Cast and crew shall not be discharged or disciplined for reporting concerns about COVID-19 or other safety issues in good faith.

Symptom Screening

  • All cast and crew will be required to participate in daily symptom monitoring prior to arriving on set or at their workspace. Recommended options include electronic survey, manual screening and/or temperature spot-checks. Productions shall emphasize and reinforce to all cast and crew that working while sick with symptoms of COVID-19 is not permitted. This should be part of training, set orientation and reinforced with posted signage and frequent reminders.

Development of Symptoms

  • Cast and crew are expected to immediately report to a designated person or persons (such as the COVID-19 Compliance Officer or such other person designated by the Producer) if they are experiencing, or a member of their household is experiencing, symptoms of COVID-19. If a cast or crew member is experiencing symptoms or has come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 either on or off site, they must report to their employer and follow the employer’s contact tracing guidelines.
  • If a cast or crew member develops symptoms of COVID-19 when off site, they must not go to work and should immediately contact their healthcare provider. Anyone who reports to work with symptoms of COVID-19 will be instructed to return home and contact their healthcare provider.
  • Cast and crew must be notified if they have been exposed to an individual who has exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 or who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Leave Policies

Paid leave policies shall be flexible and non-punitive to allow sick and quarantined employees to stay away from co-workers and the general public. These paid leave policies will be implemented to encourage compliance with infection prevention guidelines. ​

Physical Distancing


Limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Cast and crew must practice physical distancing whenever possible. Physical distancing involves maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from any other person at all times, except when doing so is incompatible with one’s job duties (see below). Cast and crew should avoid congregating in groups. When practical, separate work locations into zones to facilitate physical distancing.

Visible physical indicators (e.g., cones, duct tape or signage) marking 6 feet of distance should be placed in areas where people must congregate, such as crafts service, eating/meal areas, make-up and costume trailers.


Use phones, videoconferencing or similar technologies for meetings whenever possible. Avoid people gathering around a computer to watch together. Consider virtual production meetings whenever feasible.

Writers’ Rooms

Whenever possible, move to virtual writers’ rooms.

When virtual writers’ rooms are not possible, maintain 6 feet of distance, use face coverings, and perform hand hygiene before and after the meeting. Minimize use of paper.

Video Village

Use technology options such as additional monitors and remote viewing with the prior approval of or consultation with the Director, when required and as applicable, to allow the viewing of video from a separate location to facilitate physical distancing.


At this time, the use of live audiences is discouraged. On a case-by-case basis, live audiences may be used as long as audience members:

  • Wear face coverings at all times
  • Maintain 6 feet of physical distance, including while waiting in line and sitting in a studio; and
  • Undergo symptom screening on entry. An appropriate physical separation shall be maintained at all times between performers working without PPE and audience members.

Medical professionals shall be consulted to determine the nature of the physical separation required for the safety of the performer in such situations, including additional physical distance or physical barriers (e.g., plexiglass walls).

Working Remotely (Telecommuting)

On a temporary basis and without diminishing work opportunities, consider remote work/ telecommuting opportunities for cast and crew. This should only apply to those who can perform their job duties effectively while working remotely/ telecommuting.

Shared Workspaces

To the extent possible, reduce crowding of all shared workspaces (e.g., production offices and shops) with a goal of keeping people 6 feet apart. In control rooms, editing rooms and other small spaces, if physical distancing cannot be maintained, all individuals must wear face coverings and should practice hand hygiene.

Training and Education

The Task Force recommends that training in the employer’s COVID-19 plan to reduce infection risk be mandatory on or before the first day of employment.

  • All employees should be educated about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 as part of their training. People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. Signs and symptoms include the following:
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • All employees should receive dedicated training on the following topics:
    • PPE, with a focus on safe donning and doffing
  • Hand washing, including proper techniques
  • Environmental cleaning and disinfection, including high-touch wipe down
  • Policies and procedures related to COVID-19 on set or in offices
  • Psychological impact of the crisis
  • Protecting yourself at home
  • Preventing cross-contamination
  • Post signage in all production workspaces where production activities occur, reinforcing training principles.

Training and Education

Unique Production-Specific ConcernsSpecial Considerations for Cast and Crew Working in Close Proximity to Performers

The work of some cast and crew members (e.g., hair stylists, make-up artists, costume designers, costumers, wardrobe department personnel, sound technicians, property persons, studio teachers and special effects technicians, etc.) may not be possible while maintaining physical distancing from others. The performers with whom they work may not be able to wear face coverings at all times, for example when make-up is being applied. Testing, contact tracing and task-specific controls such as the following shall be in place:

  • Alter workspaces to permit physical distancing.
  • Control the entrants to trailers and other workspaces.
  • Allow sufficient work time to follow safety protocols.
  • Cast and crew in close proximity must wear a face mask and/or face shield at all times and perform hand hygiene before and after the encounter.
  • Additional protocols must be established before work of this nature could resume.

  Special Considerations for Performers

The work of performers will frequently put them in close (less than 6 feet) contact with other performers or cast and crew including, for example, hair stylists, make-up artists, stunt coordinators, costumers and wardrobe personnel. Face coverings/masks may not be practical during many of these activities. Additionally, certain activities such as fight scenes or intimate scenes increase the risk of transmission.

  • Whenever possible, performers shall practice physical distancing.
  • When maintaining physical distancing is not possible (e.g., between a performer and make-up artist) and the performer cannot wear appropriate PPE, contact must be kept to the shortest amount of time possible, and the other cast or crew member must wear appropriate PPE and observe hand hygiene practices.
  • The number of people involved in close proximity with a performer should be kept to a minimum whenever possible. If a performer requires work by more than one make-up artist/hairstylist, make-up artists/ hairstylists should observe appropriate PPE requirements, and both performer and make-up artist/hairstylist should observe hand hygiene practices immediately after completing the task.
  • Consider measures to minimize scenes with close contact between performers, such as amending scripts or use of digital effects.
  • Stand-ins should wear face coverings even if the performer they are standing in for may not.
  • When possible, adjust shooting schedules to minimize the amount of back-and-forth travel needed by performers.
  • Visitors should be limited unless their presence is absolutely necessary. If visitors must come, they will be subject to the same guidance as cast and crew, including, but not limited to, symptom screening and/or temperature screening, and PPE requirements.
  • When performers are in a holding area, waiting to be used in a production, employers and performers must adhere to the recommendations outlined herein, including recommendations regarding physical distancing and the use of PPE.

Personal Protective Equipment for Performers

  • When it is possible to do so consistent with their job duties, performers shall wear appropriate PPE.
  • When wearing PPE is not possible, such as when a scene is being filmed or after make-up has been applied, the number of people with whom the performer is in close contact shall be minimized.
  • As soon as possible after filming a scene, the performers shall put on their PPE and/or physically distance themselves.​Casting and Auditions
  • Casting should be conducted virtually via self-tape, online video conference, or other applicable technology whenever possible.
  • If that is not feasible, or for any additional calls or live sessions necessary, there must be a sufficient space large enough to accommodate 6 feet physical distancing in all directions.
  • If performers will not be wearing PPE during an audition, a plexiglass partition or similar barrier between the performers and those observing the audition shall be provided by the employer and used and cleaned between performances along with any furniture, props etc.
  • If no barrier is present, increase the physical space between those observing to those auditioning beyond the 6 feet physical distancing standard.
  • No more than one individual auditioning at a time except for legitimate pairs (e.g., household members, domestic partners, roommates, living together for a minimum of 14 days or more prior to the audition).


As minors may have difficulty adhering to physical distancing, wearing PPE, and practicing hand hygiene, when not working, they should be relocated to a secure off-set location to the extent possible.

  • Extra personnel on set with a minor are strongly discouraged and should be limited to a studio teacher and one guardian only.
  • Visitors should be limited unless their presence is absolutely necessary. If visitors must come, they will be subject to the same guidance as cast and crew, including, but not limited to symptom screening and/or temperature screening, and PPE requirements.
  • Physical distancing and face coverings should be used at all times on set, including in school areas.
  • As studio teachers will need to interact with minors within 6 feet of distance, teachers should wear face coverings, practice frequent hand hygiene, and receive training on COVID-19 prevention. Whenever possible, remote schooling should be made available.
  • PPE requirements and options may be modified for minors, especially those of tender years. Face coverings are not expected for minors under two years of age. 

Animal Performers

There is presently no data to suggest that companion animals/pets such as dogs and cats serve as vector for transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to humans.

  • Animal handlers/trainers should receive training on COVID-19 prevention and should follow all rules regarding physical distancing and PPE.
  • Animals should not be handled by others except those necessary for shooting a scene (i.e., no petting, cuddling, feeding). All those involved in touching animals should perform hand hygiene before and after.
  • Other animals not involved in production such as personal pets should be kept off sets.


  • Private (i.e., self-drives) or production- provided transportation to and from sets, offices and locations should be prioritized over mass transit/public transportation whenever possible. All drivers and passengers should wear face coverings and maintain social distancing to the extent possible. High- touch surfaces in vehicles shall be cleaned and disinfected frequently throughout the day.
  • If neither private nor production-provided transportation is available or reasonably practical under the circumstances, public transportation may be used.
  • At all times while in transit, cast and crew should wear face coverings per local public health guidance. Whenever it is reasonably possible to do so, cast and crew shall maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from the driver and other passengers, if any. Upon disembarking, cast and crew should promptly practice hand hygiene.
  • If public transportation is used, travel should be arranged to avoid peak travel times, if practical.

Special Considerations for Travel

Production travel presents multiple unique circumstances and challenges. Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, individual countries are likely to have separate restrictions on travel to and from the United States. Individual states and counties will also have separate restrictions in their jurisdiction. Pandemic “hot spots” may change rapidly, necessitating alterations in plans. Cast and crew traveling for productions should be aware that, should circumstances change in the location, they may be subject to travel restrictions, including enforced quarantine. Minimize travel to the extent possible. When travel is necessary, attempt to minimize frequent back-and-forth travel.

  • Identify local medical personnel in advance that could assist with care of cast and crew in the event of COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Production shall monitor local outbreaks and trends, including local public health guidance and restrictions on travel to and from the U.S., and keep cast and crew informed as appropriate. Whenever possible, those traveling for productions should not bring family members or other non-essential personnel.
  • Air travel shall be booked only on airlines whose policies comply with the Federal Aviation Administration’s regulations with respect to COVID-19.

Special Considerations for Filming on Location

Filming on location can pose certain risks compared with shooting on a studio/stage set. Given the changing epidemiology of COVID-19, particular attention to current public health guidelines and outbreak hotspots is important. Those responsible for selecting a location should take the following considerations into account.

  • Provide adequate space, such as additional trailers, tents and eating space, during location filming to allow for physical distancing.
  • Perform wipedown of high-touch areas at least daily.
  • Minimize use of crowd scenes or street scenes when a controlled flow of people is not possible.

Outdoor Locations

  • Prioritize locations where access can be secured and members of the production can be kept away from the general public when possible.
  • The location shall provide sufficient space for performing planned production activities while adhering to physical distancing recommendations.
  • Prioritize locations with access to hand- washing facilities. Provide ample mobile hand hygiene stations.
  • If shooting in inclement weather, provide adequate shelter facilities such as tents to allow physical distancing of cast and crew.


Indoor Locations

  • Productions should avoid locations that recently have been occupied or used by people who may have been infected with COVID-19, if possible.
  • If an occupied private home or building location is required for shooting, the occupants should be asked about signs/ symptoms of COVID-19 and should vacate the premises for proper cleaning and sanitizing prior to pre-production crew and production cast and crew entering the facility.
  • Productions shall select buildings that can be easily and effectively cleaned and that provide sufficient space for performing planned production activities while adhering to physical distancing recommendations. Locations with hand-washing facilities available should be prioritized. 
  • Allow adequate ventilation of indoor locations.


Traditional, in-person location scouting is considered essential to the success of a production. However, given the need for physical distancing and minimizing entry into private spaces, consider alternative options.

  • To the extent possible, location teams should pursue alternatives to traditional, in-person location scouting, such as creating virtual options including the use of photographs and ​digital scouting.
  • Tech and director scouting should occur in small groups to the extent possible.
  • All departments that provide assessments of scouting locations (environmental hazard assessment, engineering, etc.) as well as the location teams shall be trained in appropriate PPE use and provided sufficient PPE.
  • Locations shall be prioritized during scouting that allow complete control of the site, including controlling access, ability to shut down the site for cleaning and high standards of hygiene.


List of Participants


Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers

Amazon Studios LLC

Apple Studios CBS Studios Inc.

Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. Disney Television Studios

Fox Corporation HBO

HBO Max NBCUniversal Netflix

Paramount Pictures Corporation Sony Pictures Television Inc.

Walt Disney Pictures Warner  Bros. Entertainment

Unions and Guilds

Directors Guild of America

International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)

  • Local #44, Affiliated Property Craftspersons
  • Local #52, Motion Picture Studio Mechanics
  • Local #80, Motion Picture Studio Grips &

Crafts Service

  • Local #161, Script Supervisors, Production Coordinators, Assistant Production Coordinators, Production Accountants,

Assistants Productions Accountants and Payroll Accountants

  • Local #600, International Cinematographers


  • Local #695, I.A.T.S.E. Production Sound Technicians, Television Engineers, Video Assist Technicians and Studio Projectionists
  • Local #700, Motion Picture Editors Guild
  • Local #705, Motion Picture Costumers
  • Local #706, Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists
  • Local #728, Studio Electrical Lighting


  • Local #729, Motion Picture Set Painters and

Sign Writers

  • Local #764, Theatrical Wardrobe Union
  • Local #798, Make-up Artists & Hair Stylists
  • Local #800, Art Directors Guild
  • Local #829, United Scenic Artists
  • Local #871, Script Supervisors/Continuity, Coordinators, Accountants & Allied Production Specialists Guild
  • Local #884, Motion Picture Studio Teachers

and Welfare Workers

  • Local #892, Costume Designers Guild


International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers,

Local #40

Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons International Association of the United States and Canada, Local #755

Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)

Southern California District Council of Laborers and its affiliate, Studio Utility Employees, Local #724

Studio Transportation Drivers, Local #399 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters 

Theatrical Teamsters, Local #817 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada, Local #78

Medical Consultant


Chief Infection Prevention Officer, UCLA Health

Special Thanks

Special thanks to the New York Producers COVID Response Alliance (NYPCRA), whose expertise helped guide this process.

IWLMSC Task Force White Paper 6-1-20[1][1].pdf



IATSE, Local 728
Studio Electrical Lighting Technicians
1001 W. Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91506
(818) 954-0728

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Local 728 Bulletin

The color version of the Local 728 Bulletin is available online.