Only hours after CBS Studios announced it was delaying the return to production on CBS' NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles, and Seal Team, as well as CBS All Access' Why Women Kill and Disney +'s Diary of a Future President after the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health urged TV and film productions to pause in light of the surging number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, it turns out they won't be the only ones. SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris and national executive director David White released an update (which you can read below) to their union members informing them that "most entertainment productions will remain on hiatus until the second or third week of January, if not later" (which further explains CBS Studios now eyeing January 11 as a new, tentative return date).
Here's a look at the official update from the SAG-AFTRA national executives:
"We are writing to let you know that we are closely monitoring the recent surge in Covid-19 infections along with the reported lack of intensive care unit beds throughout the state of California and particularly in Los Angeles County. This is deeply concerning to us all and we have taken immediate action to connect with our epidemiologists and public health experts regarding the surge in cities across the nation.
Most entertainment productions will remain on hiatus until the second or third week of January if not later. This means that the number of our member performers working on sets right now is reduced. Our safety protocols ensure appropriate precautions for the holiday hiatus period including additional time for testing prior to the resumption of production.
To ensure the utmost safety, we are in close contact with our sister unions and guilds, the industry, our expert epidemiologists, industrial sanitation specialists, public health officials, member leaders, and staff. We remain focused on ensuring the safest possible work environment and protocols for SAG-AFTRA members.
We will continue to monitor this situation and its impact on production and employment in all contract areas and will take appropriate measures as needed to ensure the continued safety of our members and others.
In the meantime, we urge you all to remain vigilant and adhere to the safety principles to protect yourselves, your families, communities, and colleagues. Always, wear your masks, maintain safe physical distancing, wash hands frequently and well, and follow the public health recommendations for preventing the spread of infectious disease."
In excerpts posted by FilmLA on their website on Monday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reached out to the entertainment industry for their voluntary support. "Although music, TV, and film productions are allowed to operate, we ask you to strongly consider pausing work for a few weeks during this catastrophic surge in COVID cases. Identify and delay higher risk activities, and focus on lower-risk work for now, if at all possible." The health department and county film permit office also reminded everyone that "travel for production purposes is currently not advised." While production travel is permitted, both groups are asking filmmakers to avoid it whenever possible- with travel making it much more likely "that people will end up together in vehicles or indoors in less-controlled settings."
The news comes on the same day that Los Angeles surpassed 7,000 COVID-related hospitalizations for the first time, with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials confirming that 7,181 people are currently hospitalized for the infectious disease (with 20% of the patients currently hospitalized for Covid-19 are being treated in the ICU). Officials also confirmed 12,979 new cases and 227 deaths (with the number of deaths based on a backlog associated with a Spectrum outage and holiday-related delays). As of this date, LA officials have identified a total of 746,089 cases of Covid-19 and 9,782 deaths county-wide (with state officials reporting a total of 2,187, 221 cases and 24,526 deaths).