The union is calling for measures similar to those taken by the film and television industry, such as employer-provided PPE, ventilation and staggered break times.
As U.S. theaters are beginning to make plans and seek union approval to resume production, the IATSE Stagecraft Recovery Committee has released a safety plan that closely mirrors guidelines set by the film and television industry, with some key differences.
The safety plan, released Monday, notably calls for one or more COVID-19 Compliance Officers with a special authority to enforce and implement safety precautions related to the coronavirus; calls for daily symptom screening of all workers; ventilation of workspaces; widespread use of masks; staggered break times; social distancing; and employer-provided PPE, just like the recommendations provided by the film and television industry’s Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force, which includes IATSE as a member.
A key difference between the Stagecraft recommendations and June 1 film and television recommendations is the approach to testing: While the Industry-Wide committee called for “regular, periodic testing of cast and crew” without specifying what that specifically meant, the Stagecraft Recovery Committee notes that diagnostic testing results are “imperfect” and therefore “There is no single correct approach to the use of diagnostic testing, and the best approaches will change over time as testing methods are developed, community prevalence of disease changes, and work practices are modified.” As a result, the Committee vaguely recommends employers and local unions settle on a testing protocol that works for specific cases. The testing rate of cast and crew that come into contact with the public “may be different” than for other employees, the guidelines add.