SAG-AFTRA members working on television, film, commercial sets and broadcast facilities throughout the country and the world are facing uncertainty and disruption as employers adjust their operations or shut down in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Your union remains fully operational and is working each day to monitor developments and engage directly with employers regarding necessary measures to protect our members.
Members with questions should first visit sagaftra.org/COVID-19 and the CDC website to review the latest information. If you have questions regarding specific productions, please contact our member care center at (855) SAG-AFTRA so that you can be routed to the appropriate staff person.
Please note that the union may have staff working remotely during this period. We encourage members to contact the union by phone or email and to refrain from visiting union offices in person.
The variety of circumstances facing our members is as diverse as our membership and the work that you do. Nevertheless, there are a few general points that all members should consider:
- You should take all appropriate measures to protect yourself and those around you. Wash your hands frequently, refrain from touching your face and avoid crowds as much as possible. Consult the CDC website for additional advice and listen to the instructions issued by local health authorities wherever you are.
- Do not report to set if you are exhibiting any symptoms of flu-like illness including sore throat, cough, fever or difficulty breathing. Contact production immediately to explain why you cannot report. If you need help having this dialogue with production, please contact your local union office.
- Do not report to any production location subject to a Level 3 Travel Health Notice —presently, China, Italy, Iran and South Korea. Should a producer ask you to travel to any of these locations, please contact the union. An updated list of Level 3 notices can be accessed on the CDC website.
- If your production is continuing to work, be alert to circumstances that would expose you to additional risk and contact the union if it does not appear that producers are taking reasonable measures to mitigate transmission risk. In particular, if you are asked to participate in a large crowd scene or remain in a crowded holding area, have not been provided with hand washing/sanitizing facilities, or if there are visibly sick persons on set, please contact the union.
- If you are over 60 years old, pregnant, have a compromised immune system or are in another high-risk category, you should be particularly careful and consider whether you can refrain from reporting to set altogether. You should also consider whether you live or are otherwise in regular contact with another person in a high-risk category. The union is available to help you dialogue with production if there is an existing engagement you are concerned about.
- If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, we encourage you to contact any productions that you have worked on going back 14 days before you began experiencing symptoms. This information will help productions and local health authorities to identify individuals who have been exposed so they do not transmit the virus to others.
- Producers who shut down production may declare a Force Majeure, which gives production and, in some cases, performers, the right to postpone or terminate an engagement. While a pandemic like COVID-19 can serve as the triggering event for a Force Majeure, whether it qualifies in a particular case requires individual analysis. Performers may be entitled to pay, including partial salary during a postponement, and may be obligated to render services upon the conclusion of a postponement. Determining a performer's rights and obligations in the event of a Force Majeure is a complex exercise that depends on a number of factors. We have staff members tasked with responding to these questions, so please call (855) SAG-AFTRA if you have Force Majeure issues and make clear to the member care specialist answering your call that your production has declared a Force Majeure.
Please Note: Due to the demands of this unprecedented COVID-19 situation, we have received a much higher volume of individual requests for support and assistance. Each request is important and many are urgent in nature. We request your patience as we work with everyone during this period.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact SAG-AFTRA at (855) SAG-AFTRA, or if this is an emergency (844) SAFER SET / (844) 723-3773. These numbers are on the back of your membership card and on your member app.
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