Producers Guild releases COVID safety guidelines

(Series such as NCIS are preparing to return to production)

The Producers Guild of America’s (PGA) Production Safety Task Force has published a comprehensive safety guide for producers as they go back to work titled “COVID Safety Protocols for Producing Independent Productions.”

Through the collective power of the Guild’s network of producers and deep industry knowledge, these guidelines offer a comprehensive and detailed recommendation of the steps independent producers should take to help secure the safety of cast and crew during the COVID-19 pandemic. These guidelines serve as a resource for independent producers to help navigate the existing guidelines and rules set by the industry’s studios, unions and guilds. 

In consultation with epidemiologists, the Production Safety Task Force–chaired by former PGA president and CEO of Revelations Entertainment, Lori McCreary–created the guidelines.

These include how to create a Production COVID-Safety Plan for individual productions, best processes for cast and crew management on set, efficient practices and processes for comprehensive testing, protocols for how to start and stop productions in the case of positive test results, and information on budgeting for new and necessary resources.

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A joint statement from Producers Guild of America presidents Lucy Fisher and Gail Berman read, “The Production Safety Task Force has been a priority for us at the Guild and we’re grateful to Lori McCreary, the seasoned producers of the Task Force, and all of our many members who have contributed to this endeavor that will guide us into our next chapter. As fellow producers, we all feel the need to get back to work while still making sure that our cast and crew are safe and protected. We hope that our guidelines will help make this new reality possible for independent producers and provide an accessible resource for the broader creative community.”

The Task Force also collaborated closely with PGA members throughout the process, hosting weekly virtual roundtable discussions with PGA members to share their insights and potential solutions, and to give members actionable tips as the guidelines were finalized. The guidelines will be a living and breathing document that will be updated periodically as the unions issue new guidance and as producers stress test the industry protocols in the field.

Members of the PGA Production Safety Task Force are Holly Carter, Cean Chaffin, Yolanda T. Cochran, Mike Farah, Jennifer A. Haire, Gary Lucchesi, Kelly Mendelsohn, Jamie Patricof, Robert Salerno, Stacey Sher, Haley Sweet, Chris Thomes, Sara E. White, Mari Jo Winkler, Harvey Wilson, and Lulu Zezza.

Lori McCreary

“There has never been a time where I’ve seen producers and the larger industry come together around an issue with such collaboration, endurance, purpose, and, as we all need right now, hope. Our colleagues and fellow PGA members, whose talent for telling stories and making sense of the world has been paused during the pandemic but never extinguished, are eager to return to doing what they love. I and the Task Force are honored that we have the opportunity to help pave the way to work safely while continuing to produce great content,” said McCreary.

In addition to the guidelines, the PGA is in the process of creating a “Tips from the Field” online resource where producers and department heads can post tips and insights from productions they’re working on. This will create a living hub of information, all accessible to the general public, that is designed to provide further resources and support as the pandemic continues. 

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The full white paper can be found on the Producers Guild of America’s website here.