As coronavirus cases and death numbers surge in California, SAG-AFTRA, the Joint Policy Committee and the Producers Guild of America have recommended a “temporary hold on in-person production” for all television and movie projects.
“In light of the capacity crisis facing Southern California hospitals due to the COVID pandemic and an anticipated post-holiday surge of COVID cases, SAG-AFTRA and organizations representing commercial advertisers and advertising agencies and independent film and television producers have reached agreement on recommending a temporary hold on in-person production in Southern California,” they said in a joint release online. “The major studios and streamers are already on production hiatus in Southern California until mid-January.”
“Southern California hospitals are facing a crisis the likes of which we have never seen before. Patients are dying in ambulances waiting for treatment because hospital emergency rooms are overwhelmed. This is not a safe environment for in-person production right now,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris.
SAG is encouraging its members to stay inside for the “next several weeks” to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Los Angeles County, the epicenter of the crisis in California, has surpassed 10,000 COVID-19 deaths alone.
Hospitals in the area are overwhelmed and are struggling to keep up with basics such as oxygen as they treat an unprecedented number of patients with respiratory issues. On Saturday, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers crews arrived to update some hospital’s oxygen delivery systems.
Nationally, an average of just over 2,500 people have died of COVID-19 over the past seven days, according to Johns Hopkins data. The number of daily newly reported cases in that period has averaged close to 195,000, a decline from two weeks earlier.
As of Sunday, the United States nears a grim tally of 350,000 COVID-19 deaths. More than 20 million people in the country have been infected, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.