As you return to work in the midst of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Vic Ferrer Productions, Inc. (dba) The Producer’s Loft Studio (herein referred to as STUDIO) wants to assure you of its continued commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy studio/production environment, and that we are taking additional measures to protect you, your coworkers and your families from the spread of COVID-19. As part of those efforts, we are implementing a COVID-19 Safety and Social Distancing Policy. Please read this policy carefully.
Importance of Social Distancing
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of COVID-19 is limiting face-to-face contact with others, known as social distancing or physical distancing. The Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA) similarly recommends increased social distancing when preparing workplaces to respond to COVID-19.
This COVID-19 Safety and Social Distancing Policy is a key part of our overall strategy and commitment to maintaining a healthy workplace, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although knowledge about the virus and how it spreads is evolving, based on the information we have now (June 2020), these measures are believed to help curb its spread.
Compliance with this policy is essential because current consensus on the virus suggests, among other things, that:
- COVID-19 is highly contagious.
- COVID-19 spreads mostly among people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet, or two arms’ lengths) for a prolonged time period (between 10 and 30 minutes, depending on the distance).
- The virus generally spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, and droplets from his or her mouth or nose travel through the air and land in the mouths or noses of those nearby.
- A person who has the virus may not have any symptoms but may still spread COVID-19.
- A person can get COVID-19 by touching another person, such as during a handshake, or by touching another surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.
- The virus can live on surfaces for several days, depending on the surface and other conditions.
For these reasons, the CDC and other public health experts have recommended limiting contact with other people and common surfaces to limit the spread of COVID-19. We need your full cooperation and compliance with these measures to make them effective in this new work environment.
General Safe Practices
- Do not come in to the STUDIO if you are sick. Stay home.
- Everyone must self-monitor for signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and report to your supervisor or producer if you are sick or experiencing symptoms. Report this information to the STUDIO and the hiring PRODUCER / PRODUCTION COMPANY.
- Everyone must observe respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.
- Maintain social distancing of no less than 6 feet, whenever possible.
- Do not touch or use another crew member’s equipment.
- Do not share phones or personal work tools.
- Maintain regular housekeeping practices while on set, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment and other elements of your work environment.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Masks must be worn while on set or in the STUDIO, and are required at all times.
- Please bring your own masks; however, should you forget yours, one will be provided to you.
- Rubber gloves and shoe covers (booties) must be worn at all times, and will be provided to you by STUDIO.
- Make sure that PPE is consistently and properly worn, regularly inspected, maintained, and replaced as necessary.
- PPE is to be properly removed, cleaned, and stored or disposed of to avoid contamination of self, others, and the work environment. Please do not leave used gloves, masks or booties around the studio when finished using them. Dispose of them in trash receptacles.
Social Distancing Measures
Following the CDC’s guidance, the STUDIO requires that you comply with the following protocols and procedures while on-set or in the studio.
- Large Gatherings Prohibited. Large in-person gatherings and in-person meetings of more than eight (8) people are prohibited in the studio [until further notice]. This total includes in-house STUDIO personnel. Talent and crew are encouraged to use online options, such as Zoom or Skype, to communicate with producers, clients and other creatives about production issues, or to receive feedback or instructions.
- Six-Foot Distance. Maintain a six-foot distance from others when crossing paths or walking near others’ desks or workstations. Observe all space markings and traffic flow directions, including the six-foot distance reminders on floors or walls in locations where employees traditionally have gathered or may need to wait for entrance to a space or for equipment use; and the newly designated one-way pathways through hallways and other areas where six-foot distancing is not possible with two-way traffic flow.
- Schedule Changes. The hiring PRODUCER / PRODUCTION COMPANY might change your schedule to minimize the number of talent and crew in the workplace at any given time. These changes might involve any combination of alternate day work schedules; staggered lunch and break times; or staggered arrival and departure times.
- No Physical Greetings. Do not shake hands or greet others in any manner that requires physical contact (such as fist or elbow bumps). In the “new normal” this is considered polite, not rude.
- Visitor Limitations. All personal visitors are prohibited until further notice, except in cases of emergency. All other visitors are prohibited unless they are essential to the production.
- Shared Supplies and Equipment. Do not share supplies and equipment. Limit the use of shared photo, video, and other equipment, such as cameras, lights, computers, phones and remotes, to the extent consistent with necessity. If you need to use this equipment, maintain a six-foot distance from others when waiting to use the equipment; use hand sanitizer before and after each use; use disposable gloves provided when using shared equipment; and, disinfect equipment with wipes before and after each use on all touch surfaces.
- Be Flexible. Adhere to new guidelines as they emerge, as this issue is new and evolving.
Wash Your Hands
You’ve heard it many times by now, and you’ll hear it a million more, but the best way to lower your risk of contracting COVID-19 (or pass it on to someone else) is to wash your hands after you cough, sneeze, touch your face, use the restroom, or are about to leave one place for another. You should wash your hands when you leave or return to the STUDIO. Hand sanitizer is no substitute for washing your hands with soap and water, however, hand sanitizer will be provided throughout the studio. The World Health Organization has detailed instructions on how to properly perform hand washing: https://youtu.be/3PmVJQUCm4E
COVID-19 Safety by Department
- Collectively, we all need to anticipate things taking longer to accomplish than before Covid-19.
- Take time to communicate and plan every part of a project, in order to reduce unexpected situations and increase efficiency.
- Carefully consider number of shoot days required.
- Consider staggered call times, department by department.
- Build in time for one department to “step in, step out” at a time.
- Consider whether a prep or pre-light day will be required.
- Strive to keep the same individuals on an entire job (as opposed to individuals swapping in and out), thereby minimizing the number of individuals overall.
- All paperwork including petty cash envelopes, time cards, POs, agreements, pickup and return paperwork, will be converted to electronic files.
- Utilize individual printers and scanners whenever possible.
- Disinfect remote controls regularly.
- Encourage actors to wait in their cars or on the patio, not in the STUDIO, front lobby, hallway or inside the building.
- Digitally distribute scripts.
- Camera pick-up from camera houses will be done by one individual and all excess gear and cases will be kept in the STUDIO garage area with appropriate security.
- Only camera personnel should handle camera equipment, such as carts, cases, tape, etc.
Electric and Grip Department
- All grip equipment will be handled only by the STUDIO’s in-house Grip person. (Apple boxes and stands often support other departments.)
- Art departments (and others) should communicate support needs in advance.
- Disinfect Comteks before and after each use.
- Label Comteks with the name of the user.
- Disinfect lav mics and transmitters before and after each use.
- Replace lav mounting components that can not be thoroughly cleaned.
- PPE must be worn by both the audio sound person and talent for the duration of person-to-person contact, i.e., placing of LAV microphones on talent before recording.
- Consider using boom-only audio, as opposed to rigging lav mics.
- STUDIO may provide preset boom for purposes of efficiency. (Check with Stage Manager.)
- Consider staggering lunch to decrease number of people getting food and seating simultaneously.
- Food should be served to people, as opposed to self-serve.
- Flatware should be wrapped and handed to crew by a dedicated person.
- Some scenarios will benefit from individually boxed/bagged meals.
- Plenty of tables and seating will be provided by STUDIO to safely spread out.
- Encourage hand washing before and after meals.
- Provide only individual, prepackaged portions.
- Everyone must wash her or his hands before entering the craft services area.
- Table should be set up so that people can take individual portions and only touch what they are taking – “YOU TOUCH IT, YOU OWN IT!”
- Craft services should have capability to refill an individual’s reusable water bottle brought to set, without contact between refill source and bottle.
- Reduce and streamline variety of beverages.
Government and public health guidelines and restrictions and business and industry best practices regarding COVID-19 are changing rapidly, as new information becomes available and further research is conducted. The STUDIO reserves the right to modify this policy at any time at its sole discretion to adapt to changing circumstances and business needs, consistent with its commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace.
Enforcement and Non-Retaliation
Failure to comply with these social distancing measures may result in discipline, up to and including request to leave the STUDIO. If you witness or become aware of any talent or crew or other individuals violating this policy, you must immediately report them to the hiring PRODUCER / PRODUCTION COMPANY.
The STUDIO prohibits any form of discipline, reprisal, intimidation or retaliation for reporting a violation of this policy or any other health and safety concern. Talent and crew also have the right to report work-related injuries and illnesses, and will not discharge, discriminate or otherwise retaliate against employees who report production related injuries or illnesses.
The hiring PRODUCER / PRODUCTION COMPANY is responsible for administering and enforcing this policy. If you have any questions regarding this policy, or if you have questions about health and safety that are not addressed in this policy, please contact the hiring PRODUCER / PRODUCTION COMPANY.
Acknowledgment of Receipt and Review
All persons who intend to be in the STUDIO must download, sign, and return a copy of this safety policy, an assumption of risk, and a liability waiver. These three documents are linked below.
Once downloaded, printed, and signed, the documents must be scanned (or photographed via mobile device) and returned to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALL FORMS MUST BE RECEIVED BEFORE A PRODUCTION BEGINS.