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SAG-AFTRA Calls For Hold On Productions Due To Covid Surge

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Teala Dunn speaks to a crew during filming for the "Sony Collaboration Series" on December 18, 2019 in Culver City. (Timothy Norris/Getty Images for Sony)
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Local hospitals are out of beds. Someone in Los Angeles county is infected with the coronavirus every six seconds. And dozens of TV production workers now have COVID-19.

The idea of filming a TV series, commercial or feature film around L.A. County is not only dangerous, it also runs the risk of creating more patients for an overtaxed health care system. So on Sunday, representatives for actors, producers and advertisers said they want all local filming to stop immediately.

"Southern California hospitals are facing a crisis the likes of which we have never seen before," Gabrielle Carteris, the president of the actors' union SAG/AFTRA said in a statement. "This is not a safe environment for in-person production right now."

Stacy Marcus, the chief negotiator for the Joint Policy Committee, which represents advertisers, added:

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"It is simply too great a risk to performers, crew, and industry personnel to continue production knowing that hospitals are in crisis mode and the number of cases continues to rise."

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TV crew members wearing facemasks stand outside a building during a TV shoot in the Arts District on November 18, 2020. (VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)
Late last month, the L.A. County Department of Public Health recommended production be halted for a few weeks as local infection rates and deaths hit all-time highs.

Film LA, which tracks on-location shooting, says the shutdown will largely affect commercial production, which accounts for half of local filming and was gearing up for ads for the Super Bowl, scheduled for Feb. 7.

Because of the pandemic, December's film and TV production was down sharply from a year ago. Most big studios and streaming sites previously paused production until later this month.

Warner Bros., CBS, NBC Universal and Netflix all have reported multiple new coronavirus cases, including people working on the TV shows The Kominsky Method, Never Have I Ever and Mr. Mayor.

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