At Northbound, the safety of our cast and crew is the highest priority.
As production resumes across the globe, we’ve put together a comprehensive COVID-19 protocol document so we can get back to work and continue to make compelling, creative and dynamic content — responsibly.
The health and safety of all cast and crew is the highest priority.
In returning to set, we are taking guidance from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers Industry-Wide Labor Management Safety Committee Task Force’s White Paper on Proposed Health and Safety Guidelines for Motion Picture, Television, and Streaming Productions During the COVID-19 Pandemic (version date: June 1, 2020).
The outlined health and safety measures contained in this document, in conjunction with all state, local, and federal (CDC) public health guidelines will be followed during production. To the extent possible, physical distancing shall be maintained. When physical distancing is impracticable, other risk mitigating measures shall be taken.
Many of the proposed protocols 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.
The CDC advises that those over age 65 and those with co-morbidities consult with their healthcare providers regarding the risks of COVID-19.
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PRE PRODUCTION & POST PRODUCTION
All pre-production and post production will be conducted remotely whenever possible. All client and pre-production meetings will be virtual and utilize video conferencing.
All casting sessions and submissions will take place digitally. Casting should be conducted virtually via self-tape, online video conference, or other applicable technology whenever possible.
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. Appropriate PPE must be worn during location scouts.
We recommend considering studio-only shoots for the time being to allow for a higher level of infection control. Studios, stages, and all indoor spaces should be vetted for proper 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).
All location shooting should be outfitted with the safety precautions outlined in this document.
Budgeting & Scheduling
When possible, additional days will be built into schedules and budgets to allow for full implementation of safety protocol. Additional budget line items will be included in all budgets for PPE and COVID-19 Compliance Officers.
When possible and applicable, productions will require above the line and key personnel (director, cast, etc.) to hold principal photography shoot dates and back up reshoot date(s) at least 20 days after initially scheduled shoot.
In the event that a shoot is postponed due to COVID-19, every effort will be made by production to rehire all crew, but no kill / cancelation fees will be paid by production at this time.
When budget allows and on longer shoots, every attempt will be made to provide paid leave policies to all freelancers / day players who may get sick during production.
For long shoots (over three weeks) and when budget permits, we recommend moving to the zoned model outlined in the DAG, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, and Teamsters’ Committees for COVID-19 Safety Guidelines, here.
Testing & Compliance Management
When requested/required, Northbound will bring on third party partners to oversee COVID-19 active virus and antibody testing, deep cleaning and location preparation, COVID-19 Compliance Officers, and PPE management and maintenance.
COVID-19 Compliance Officer
Depending on the scope of the production, a trained COVID-19 Compliance Officer will be added to the crew to manage and oversee infection control protocols, and, if applicable, oversee testing. For smaller productions, a member of the production team (e.g. line producer, production coordinator, production assistant, AD or 2nd AD) will be assigned to oversee infection control.
All effort will be made to operate all elements of post production remotely (e.g. color, sound mixing, voice over records, etc.) All edits will be delivered via Northbound’s staging platform for review. No in-person editing sessions will take place.
Signage will be posted prominently with instructions on how to stop the spread of COVID-19, including hand hygiene and PPE instructions.
On-set diagnostic testing will not be provided for shoots that last less than a week. Cast and crew will be required to answer a COVID-19 Questionnaire prior to walking on set. Cast and crew will be required to provide proof of negative COVID-19 test results to production prior to walking on set. Production’s administration of testing will be dependent on a project’s scope and budget.
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 other such 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.
Symptoms include: fever (100.4°F or above), chills, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle/body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.Cast and crew must alert production immediately if they experience any symptoms.
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.
If a member of the cast and crew experiences symptoms on set, production will make a determination based on the situation’s specifics whether production will be shut down.
All cast and crew members will have their temperature checked on arrival to set. Those with temperatures of 100.4°F or above will be asked to leave the set.
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.
Cast and crew should avoid congregating in groups. When practical, sets will be sectioned off into zones to keep departments apart.
One-way systems for foot traffic will be implemented when possible to avoid people congregating or passing each other in close proximity.
When possible, visible physical indicators (e.g., cones, duct tape, or signage) marking 6 feet of distance will be placed in areas where people must congregate, such as craft service, eating/meal areas, make-up and costume trailers.
The use of creative solutions like camera angles, CGI/VFX, or stock footage to depict intimacy, close contact, or crowd scenes will be considered whenever possible.
In addition to following social distancing and hygiene guidelines on set, cast and crew should remain diligent in their personal hours, especially if they are shooting over consecutive days and on weekend breaks, by:
– Staying at least 6 feet from other people when out in public
– Avoiding crowds, especially indoors
– Covering their mouth and nose with a mask when they have to go out in public
– Avoiding using public transportation
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Face coverings will be worn by all cast and crew, except talent when they are on-camera.
Gloves. Per the AMPTP Task Force, 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.).
Non-medical (work) gloves shall be worn as usual when appropriate. Work gloves should NOT BE SHARED.
PPE may be disposed of as regular (non-biohazard) waste. Ample trash receptacles shall be available, and these shall be emptied regularly.
Cast and crew should avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth.
Handwashing facilities with running water, soap, and paper towels will be available.
Stations with alcohol-based hand rub (“hand sanitizer”) with at least 60% alcohol shall be strategically placed around work areas and readily accessible.
Cast and crew should maintain good hygiene practices (washing for a minimum of 20 seconds of duration, scrubbing all hand surfaces).
Hands should be washed or sanitized:
– Upon arriving at the job site;
– After touching one’s face;
– After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing;
– After using the restroom;
– After contact with animals or pets;
– After handling shared equipment or objects;
– After cleaning or disinfecting equipment, tools, or workspaces;
– Before and after eating or drinking;
– And at other appropriate times throughout the workday.
In addition to wearing a face covering, cast and crew should cough and sneeze into the elbow, or use a tissue and immediately dispose of it followed by thorough hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Disinfection and Handling
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.
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).
Hands should be cleaned before and after handling props, costumes, accessories, wigs, and other specialty 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 will be minimized, and alternatives such as electronic scripts and electronic sign-in/out will be used.
When paper scripts are unavoidable, they should be assigned to a specific individual, clearly labeled with their name, and not shared between others.
All timesheet paperwork, 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 required.
Shoot days will be limited to 10 hours.
All sets will be closed with no visitors allowed.
The number of people on set will be limited based on local guidelines.
No one allowed on set who has travelled overseas in the last 14 days.
Individuals coming from high risk states must adhere to state and local regulations regarding inter-state travel throughout the United States.
Whenever possible, all shoot attendees should be local, or with minimal travel required.
No one allowed on set who is experiencing any cold/flu or other COVID-19 symptoms.
No one allowed on set who has been in contact with someone that has COVID-19 or is currently being tested.
Public transport will be discouraged when traveling to sets.
Clear records of everyone involved in the production will be kept for contact tracing purposes.
The CDC advises that those over age 65 and those with co-morbidities consult with their healthcare providers regarding the risks of COVID-19 before taking part in public activities (e.g. scouts, set, etc.).
Cast and crew will be required to fill out a COVID-19 questionnaire before walking on set.
Every effort will be made to stagger cast and crew call and wrap times to limit the number of individuals arriving to and departing from work simultaneously.
All cast and crew should avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.
Cast and crew should avoid physical contact (i.e. shaking hands, “high fives,” fist or elbow bumps, or hugging.)
Agency/brand/client teams must avoid attending shoots and join virtually instead.
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.
Use of 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.
All gear should be disinfected at the beginning and end of the shoot day, and regularly throughout.
Cameras should be kept 6 feet away from talent where and whenever possible.
If possible, barriers will be used to separate crew from the talent.
Using others’ personal property, work tools, and equipment is prohibited, unless absolutely necessary.
Where possible, utilize boom microphones only. For other types of microphones (plus walkie talkies, radio comms etc.) use individual mics, disposable covers, or other steps to prevent the use of shared equipment.
Food & Beverage
COVID-19 is unlikely to be spread through food or beverages; however, catering, craft 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.
As face coverings cannot be worn while eating, adequate eating space must be provided to ensure physical distancing can be maintained during meal periods.
Handwashing 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. Cast and crew should not leave the job site to obtain food during the course of the workday.
All eating surfaces will 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.
Craft Service will be minimal to avoid gathering and frequent touching of items.
Meals, snacks, and beverages will be served in individually packaged or wrapped portions. Eating utensils will be disposable and individually wrapped. Shared communal trays or bowls will be avoided.
Cast and crew who bring their own food are encouraged to bring food that does not require refrigeration or heating/microwaving.
When possible, individual food orders will be taken ahead of time and distributed to cast and crew.
Cast and crew will be encouraged to bring their personal water bottle to set clearly labeled. Individual water bottles will be available, but limited. Crew must label their bottles and immediately recycle water bottles when they are finished with each bottle.
Cast and crew in close proximity to performers (e.g. hair stylists, make-up artists, costume designers, costumers, wardrobe department personnel, sound technicians, property persons, studio teachers, and special effects technicians, etc.) must wear a face mask and/or face shield at all times and perform hand hygiene before and after the encounter.
Every effort will be made to schedule sufficient work time for crew members to adhere to safety protocols.
Whenever possible, performers shall practice physical distancing.
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/hair stylists should observe appropriate PPE requirements, and both performer and make-up artist/hairstylist should observe hand hygiene practices immediately after completing the task.
As soon as possible after filming a scene, the performers shall put on their PPE and/or physically distance themselves.
Hair, Makeup & Wardrobe
Where possible, talent should undertake their own hair, wardrobe, and makeup requirements. When hair, makeup, or wardrobe teams are required, additional precautions will be taken when possible:
Personal protective equipment must be worn by all stylists & assistants.
Every effort made to ensure wardrobe, hair & makeup areas are well-ventilated with enough space, and disinfected regularly, including chairs, tables, etc.
Costumes should undergo regular disinfection.
Single-use tools should be used (ie. makeup brushes, hair brushes, etc).
Talent should handle their own makeup touch ups if possible, to avoid ongoing contact with the makeup artist.
Private (e.g., self-drives) or production-provided transportation to and from sets, offices, and locations will 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.
Minimize travel to the extent possible. When travel is necessary, attempt to minimize frequent back-and-forth travel.
Whenever possible, those traveling for productions should not bring family members or other non-essential personnel.
Production will make every effort to book air travel only on airlines whose policies comply with the Federal Aviation Administration’s regulations with respect to 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.
Protocols will evolve as needed to reflect the most up-to-date state, local, and federal (CDC) guidelines, scientific research, and practical application in our day-to-day work.
Clients, cast, and crew are encouraged to report problems, ask questions, and suggest solutions to enhance the safety and productivity of the workspaces.
Thank you for reviewing these protocols — let’s get back to work!
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