Variations add complexity to the creative process

Variants of the coronavirus, such as delta and omicron, have dealt secondary blows to the film industry, just as they have affected society at large.

Many productions would have been interrupted, some indefinitely.

In response, the film and television entertainment industry has enhanced its COVID-19 protocols.

On January 25, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists issued a notice stating that all “return to work” protocols would be extended until February 13, daily testing would be in place for actors and others frontline workers, and improved masks – such as N95 masks, which are typically worn by healthcare workers – would be needed. The document also urged booster vaccinations for studio staff.

“As performers who often cannot be masked or physically distanced, members of SAG-AFTRA are among the most vulnerable people on set, making it necessary to remain vigilant and flexible in the face of this unprecedented surge of ‘crucially important,’ the organization said in a statement on the new guidelines.

“It’s not going away anytime soon,” said Lori Vitagliano, associate vice president and entertainment group account executive at Lockton Cos. LLC in Los Angeles. “I’m sure it will last a long time. … Production companies just have to accept it.

Can the industry survive? Experts say it depends.

Small production companies have “a harder time navigating this world than deep-pocketed movie studios,” said Aaron Baum, vice president of the entertainment and media industry practice group at Marsh LLC at Chicago.

Sharon D. Cole