A source told Deadline that requiring cast and crew members to get inoculated against COVID-19 was "premature." They said: "To mandate [vaccinations] at this point may be premature. The subject has been skirted." The source remarked that cast and crew members should get the COVID-19 vaccine, but continued that "nothing is mandatory."
According to the same source, the new agreement between entertainment unions was "pretty much a straightforward extension" of the original deal. This earlier agreement was finalized on Sept. 21 of last year and was set to expire on April 29. It was the product of talks between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and a number of actors' unions.
The extension of the current agreement, which is now set to end on June 30, retains the provisions of the original deal that tackle COVID-19 protocols. These include strictly enforced testing regimens, the presence of health and safety officers to ensure compliance to protocol and diligent use of personal protective equipment. It also included physical distancing and a "zone" system to control the movement of production crew. According to union officials, these health protocols have made film sets among the safest place to work in the U.S. during the ongoing pandemic.
Furthermore, the newly extended agreement gives film and television workers 10 days of COVID-19 paid sick leave starting May 1 and running through Dec. 10 of this year. Workers who used up their 10 paid sick days per the initial deal will get 10 additional days. However, unused sick days would not be compounded to the leaves that are part of the new deal.
The Deadline report stated that production crew members and celebrities starring in movies and TV programs are not required to get immunized against COVID-19. However, another report has stated that celebrities attending this year's Academy Awards are not mandated to wear masks.
Meanwhile, the average American has to comply with mask orders lest they face punishment from authorities. Businesses asking for proof of vaccination only exacerbate the problem – effectively ostracizing people who cannot or choose not to get immunized.
Breitbart reported on April 19 that celebrities attending the 93rd Academy Awards would not be required to wear masks when in front of the camera. Those attending the Oscars at downtown Los Angeles's Union Station would not be required to mask up likewise when seated in the main show room. However, they have to wear face coverings during commercial breaks and when moving to either of the two adjacent courtyards in the venue.
A piece by The Hollywood Reporter said that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did not provide an official explanation for the policy. However, it noted that the April 25 awarding ceremony would be "shot like a movie." Given this information, the Reporter noted that masks are not required for people on camera under current production guidelines.
The Oscars mask policy was unveiled during an April 19 virtual press conference attended by award nominees and publicists. Furthermore, it was also announced during the virtual presser that each attendee will be tested "at least three times prior to the show" and will undergo a temperature check upon arrival. It did not clarify if masks were required for those attending concurrent programs in the Dolby Theatre and other remote locations, however.
Filmmakers Steven Soderbergh and Jesse Collins, alongside film producer Stacey Sher, would be responsible for running the 93rd Oscars telecast. The three held a virtual press conference on April 17 regarding the awarding ceremony. Soderbergh responded to a question about whether Oscar nominees would be wearing masks, "cryptically" replying: "Masks are going to play a very important role in the story." (Related: How stupid does Hollywood look after giving Andrew Cuomo an Emmy for his coronavirus performance?)
Visit Pandemic.news to read more about the entertainment industry's response to COVID-19.