SAG-AFTRA Vice President, New York Local President, Rebecca Damon

After having once been the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, today New York City officially enters Phase 1 of the Reopening Process. It is a time of mixed emotions when we are both excited about steps forward and concerned about what it will take to move ahead in the safest manner. 
The process can be confusing so I want to lay out some regional specifics so that you have the information at your fingertips. 
Phase 1 includes manufacturing, construction, wholesale trade and agriculture as well as retail, but it is limited to curbside or in-store pick up and drop off. Many regions of the state are in Phase 2 which allows some additional businesses to operate including offices, real estate, additional retail, hair salons and barbershops and outdoor dining. Under Phase 2, some aspects of pre- and post-production are authorized to resume restricted operations in specific regions of New York State (not yet NYC) as part of the reopening plan. No principal photography is permitted that congregates a total of over 10 people together for one shoot. To operate, you must comply with all safety guidelines for our industry and any additional health and safety guidance issued by the state.
Please review the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force Production Health and Safety Guidelines submitted to Governor Cuomo and other governors to begin to familiarize yourself with what our work will look like as production resumes. 
Be on the lookout for additional specific protocols which are being developed with input from our epidemiologist, industrial sanitation experts, member leaders, staff and our fellow unions. These protocols will cover areas such as makeup, hair, props, and testing. All of this will require everyone in our industry to re-envision what our work will look like in order to have a safer return to work. As information about COVID-19 continues to evolve, we must be ready to adapt with it.
As New Yorkers, we are indeed tough, but our hearts are heavy with the death of George Floyd. Now is the time for us to re-evaluate what’s important to us individually and collectively. We must decide who we want to be and what we stand for. I stand for justice for George Floyd and all the souls who have lost their lives at the hands of racism. You can read SAG-AFTRA’s Statement on the Murder of George Floyd. I hope you will consider how your activism can make a real difference in fighting racism not only in New York, but in all of America.
I hope you and yours are safe and healthy.
Onward together,

Rebecca Damon​


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