Planning for a Safer Return to Sets and Studios

Safe Way Forward: The Basics

As the industry makes slow progress to reopening, SAG-AFTRA members will be entering into a very different filming environment due to COVID-19. 

Our goal is to keep cast and crew healthy by setting up protocols that create the environment for the lowest risk possible to safety and health. The world we live in changes daily, as new medical and scientific information about the virus emerges—and, so, we must move forward but in a way that is careful and wise. 

We must also recognize that we are in a fluid situation and so protocols are currently evolving as we learn each day the best way forward. We will continuously update our position as necessary for the benefit and protection of our members.

Here, we provide a current comprehensive list of key issues and answers as a guide for each member who is considering a production job. The details below are largely shaped by “The Safe Way Forward”, a comprehensive roadmap jointly drafted and agreed-to by SAG-AFTRA, DGA, IATSE and the Teamsters. The document is built on the broad medical, scientific and policy standards set forth by political officials and key government experts (e.g., the CDC), coupled with input from highly-trained experts recruited to structure a safe workplace within our industry’s unique environment.

We are also laying out protocols for performers working outside a studio set, especially in voiceover jobs. In addition, we are negotiating other key specific issues with industry.

These issues and answers will be frequently updated as circumstances develop and to reflect evolving rules, protocols, and practices.

General Principles

There is no such thing as “no risk” in the absence of an effective vaccine which reaches a large percentage of the population, and eventually creates broad immunity and “starves” the virus for lack of vulnerable people to infect. 

But, we feel we can create a “low risk” environment based on three important principles:

  • Testing, Testing, Testing;
  • Restructuring sets with a “Zone system” to achieve the maximum physical distancing and safe working environments;
  • Broad use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Testing is the key to a safe environment. The modeling data is clear: regular and frequent testing of cast and crew effectively and substantially reduces the risk of infections and transmission. Testing gives strong confidence that if someone is infected, s/he can be isolated and quarantined and any further transmission can be avoided.

A Zone system. By creating “bubbles,” or circles of interaction, fewer people will be in close proximity to each other. This will mirror the best medical advice we are used to hearing in our daily lives: we create a safer environment by limiting the size of crowds in confined spaces.

PPE at all times. Within the production environment, the use of PPE (especially masks and face shields) will be constant, widespread and broadly available, fortifying a relentless program of santization of every nook and cranny.

Pre-Production FAQs

Production FAQs


Industry Protocols

Resources & Downloads

Not seeing below? Please log in.

The Safe Way Forward - Production Safety Guidelines (Updated)
The Safe Way Forward: Questions and Answers
Joint Protocols for Hair, Makeup, Wardrobe/Costume and Props
County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health Order of the Health Officer
Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force
Grupo de trabajo del Comité de Seguridad de la Gestión Laboral para toda la Industria


Other Resources

Help Center

On-Set Emergency

On-Set Emergency: (844) 723-3773

Help Center

How can we help? Call, chat with a rep, get answers to FAQs or send us an email.