How to Mitigate COVID Risk for Production Companies

COVID safe production

In a pre-post-COVID world, how can teams coming together to produce a film, performance, or other creative endeavor reduce their risk? 

Here we propose a strategy involving gatekeeping, testing, and other aspects of event design to encourage the safety of staff and guests while achieving the goals of your project.  

Production involves a tight-knit crew that forms a sustained bubble for a specific length of time where they need to work together intimately. Production companies share these characteristics:

  • Temporary: Event has a clear beginning, middle, and end.
  • Professional: Everyone is there to do a job.
  • Accountable: Organizers can require vaccination, testing, and other behavior from employees and vendors.
  • Intimate: Members have to work in close proximity, at times, without masks.
  • Connected: Everyone can be contacted and tested before, during, and after entering the bubble.

The overall strategy involves a combination of vaccination, questionnaires, and a double testing strategy. 

Elements of risk mitigation for production companies

Vaccination

If everyone on set is vaccinated, then you won’t need to quarantine. However, since vaccinated cast and crews are not yet mandatory per industry guidelines, testing is crucial.

Testing

Using  PCR testing, alongside proof of vaccination, can help eschew the majority of mask wearing on set. This fits well within a film and TV production where you have a set length of filming, there are different crews working closely together and wearing masks might not be possible.

Crew and cast can be swabbed in advance of call time. This gives the production team notice if someone is positive and the necessary time to make alternate arrangements. For more information about testing, see our blog.

Questionnaires

Questionnaires are an additional tool to monitor cast and crew health. Participants can receive a questionnaire like the standard at the doctor: “Have you had a fever, chills, loss of smell or been exposed to someone with Covid recently…” The questionnaire's goal is to reinforce the importance of paying attention to your health and how it will affect the wellbeing of those around you. 

Social distancing

Encourage social distancing when appropriate and strives to establish expected behavior even when temporary.

Sanitation

Provide sanitation, ventilation, masks as fundamental aspects of gathering.

Feedback & tracing

Have post-event preparations for feedback to refine the process, follow up with potential outbreaks and accountability * 

For high control scenario’s your company's admin holds everyone's contact information and are empowered to contact trace in case of outbreak. Providing anonymous comment cards or digital feedback forms allow for the company to receive important information which will allow them to adjust for safety moving forward. 

Conclusion

It is irresponsible to have an event without some sort of gatekeeping. With mandatory testing and vaccination check-ins, coupled with questionnaires upon entry, you can create a container where your crew and guests can feel secure. By doing everything you can to administer proper gatekeeping, social distancing, and sanitation, you are signaling that you care about the well-being of your guests and team.

Carol Carmick

Carol Carmick (aka Stella Maris) is a strategic copywriter, cauldron technician, and community instigator in Portland, Oregon. www.carolcarmick.com

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