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Considerations for a Restart Plan, From USI


(Prepared by USI for their clients in the entertainment industry.)

PreProduction | Location

For studios that have been idle, following are 8 KEY CONSIDERATIONS FOR A RESTART PLAN that can be used by the production team and/or reviewed with the studio owner.

1.  Inform authorities

2.  Inspect the building envelope

3.  Inspect the building interior

4.  Perform an inspection of the fire sprinkler system

5.  Inspect mechanical systems

6.  Inspect/change air filters

7.  Inspect electrical

8.  Flush drinking water

PreProduction | Location

Before crew returns to a location, operators should complete recommended actions to ensure a safe workplace environment.

1.    Location scouting should be done remotely.

2.    Preparatory cleaning of workspace.

3.    Close (or restrict) access to common areas, break rooms, kitchens, conference rooms.

4.    Put hand sanitizer dispensers at entrances, reception areas, and elevator landings.

5.    Place markings on the floor at 6feet intervals in high-traffic areas.

6.    Place directional signage on the floor to specify oneway movement.

7.    Post signs in conspicuous areas to remind people to follow CDC guidelines.

PreProduction | Cast & Crew

Maintaining a safe production requires developing an infectious disease entry plan that includes policies and procedures to minimize a virus exposure as crews, vendors, and extras enter your set.

1.    Castings should be done virtually if possible.

If casting must be done onsite, talent should wait offsite until it is their turn.

2.    Allow art department extra time to clean props, furniture, etc. that come into contact with people.

3.    Increase ventilation in dressing rooms and cafeterias.

4.    Temperature Checks: On-Site or SelfCertification?

PreProduction | Cast & Crew

Potential Tests

COVID19 testing. Currently, COVID-19 tests cannot be administered by on-site clinic staff or contracted nurses.

Most on-site clinics and nurses may be able to provide a COVID-19 test in the future, but the tests need to be CLIAwaived1 (like an onsite cholesterol screening).

Antibody testing. As a vaccine is potentially 18- to 24-months off, many employers are considering offering antibody testing to help cast & crew know whether they have been exposed and, potentially protected, to the virus. There are several commercially-available tests but, as of this moment, none of them are FDA2 approved.

Temperature Checks. Many organizations are considering screening personnel to assess potential sickness.

As of 3/17/20, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has said temperature checks were permissible due to the risk of community spread.

As of 4/23/20, the EEOC said worksite testing programs are permissible with precautions.

Employers should check with their legal counsel regarding their specific program.

1.     Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA).

2.     Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

COVID-19 Testing Resources | Temperature Testing of Cast & Crew

Testing format: An infrared thermometer

What does a positive test mean?

Initial temperature reading may mean someone is potentially sick. The person should be moved to a quarantine area and retested. If the elevated temperature is validated using an oral thermometer, the person should be sent home and triaged to a healthcare organization for follow up. Not all associates with elevated temperature will have COVID-19.

Follow-up care and monitoring should be provided in either case.


Staffing and time intensive. Although taking cast & crew temperatures can be done by an employee, the employer should provide full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and training. The medical staff monitoring the procedure must keep all health records separate from employment records. A third party can be engaged to administer the temperature testing as this may limit employee exposure and confidentiality issues.

USI is profiling vendors for distribution.

Additional concerns or things to think about:

Redesigning the entranceway to restrict access only to those who‘ve been tested.

Facilities with large parking lots may consider testing outside the physical plant, keeping people in cars until cleared

Office facilities may have greater challenges given narrow hallways, elevators, and small lobbies

Consider staggered start times AND/OR on/off days to reduce total volume of employees

Alternatives to Onsite Temperature Testing

Given the physical challenges presented for officebased employers with little room for outside facility temperature testing, USI is seeking to present/develop alternatives.

Self-Certification, At-home Temperature Testing

   Ask cast & crew to certify daily they are symptom free.

Ask cast & crew to take temperature daily at home regardless of lack of symptoms.

USI is working with several vendors to create an app based self-certification system.

   Utilize system to ensure confidentiality of cast & crew data.

Production Plan| Tactical Plan Considerations

Maintaining a safe production requires developing an infectious disease entry plan that includes policies and procedures to minimize a virus exposure as crews, vendors, and extras enter your set.

1. Crew should utilize Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including but not limited to goggles, face shields, and masks that cover the nose and mouth. Disposable face masks should be disposed of in closed bin receptacles.

2. Maintain a minimum 6foot distance from others where possible.

Cafeteria, wardrobe, makeup

3.  Avoid in-person meetings

Use phone/video if available.

4. Ensure hygiene supplies are restocked on a regular basis.

Production Plan| Tactical Plan Considerations

5.  Wipe down high touch areas, i.e. elevator buttons, door handles, copy machines.

6. Where possible, use electronic call sheets, production reports, and contracts.

7. Allowing outside personnel into the production office should be avoided as much as possible; Limit the number of people in all areas to essential personnel only.

8. If transporting extras in a company vehicle, the company, cast & crew should follow the CDC guidelines on cleaning and disinfection.

9. All camera/electric/grip/hair and make-up personnel should only handle their own non-shared equipment.

This means that more gear may be required.

COVID-19 Reopening| Risk & Insurance Considerations

In addition to maintaining a safe filming environment, there are several considerations from an insurance coverage standpoint.

1.  Workers Compensation (WC): There are potential coverage issues under current workers compensation insurance as related to COVID-19 claims. Occupational disease, by definition, brings about challenges with triggering

coverage. Carriers will review and potentially deem a claim to not be compensable per GA WC Statute.

Many production companies buy WC through a PEO. Employers liability associated with WC coverage in this scenario is questionable.

2.  General Liability: Is there a communicable disease exclusion on the current policy?

If so, this could exclude coverage for third party risk related to COVID-19.

3.  Directors and Officers: There may be reputational harm risk that results from prematurely opening studios and resuming production under the current circumstances which could ultimately create an opportunity for litigation against the company.

4.  Cast Coverage: Many carriers have stopped providing cast coverage or are offering it at much higher cost.

COVID-19 | Reopening Complexities

The evolving landscape will require flexibility and ongoing process management.

      Rely on proven strategies that have been implemented by productions outside the United States.

Many detailed reopening documents are available. USI continues to review and recommend best practices from multiple sources.

Expect governmental guidance from the CDC and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) soon, as non-essential business are allowed to reopen.

      Unions and guilds are releasing guidelines and worksite rules for safe film & TV production.

If not already in place, create an Emergency Response plan for infectious disease as well as for other potential location impact events.

Clearly communicate to all cast & crew the plan for shooting, emphasizing your intention of making the workplace safe.

USI Client Resources | We are Here to Help You

USI can help you STEER through this extraordinary time and take action, leveraging our COVID-19 Preparedness and

Response knowledge portal.

Matt Watkins

USI Entertainment Practice



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