COVID-19 Return to Work Safety Agreement - A Message From DGA President Thomas Schlamme

CV Updates

September 21, 2020

Dear Members:

It has been a difficult six months throughout this ongoing pandemic that has brought our industry to a standstill. But as production begins and the lights slowly switch back on, I'm so pleased to announce our members will have the reassurance of a strong set of COVID-19 safety protocols we have negotiated with employers to minimize the risk of virus transmission. It has been a long road to finally get to this point, and it would not have been possible without those in our Guild who have led this process, and the unprecedented collaboration of our sister Guilds and Unions.

Since the production shutdown in mid-March, our focus has been on the work of getting back to work safely. And we knew it wouldn't be easy in the face of growing unknowns surrounding the transmission of COVID-19, and our unique work environments which so often require close contact. To make sense of it all, we formed a National Board Return to Work Committee, led by Steven Soderbergh, and comprised of members across all categories and regions.

With science as their guide, the Committee consulted with top epidemiologists, medical experts, and risk analysts – and it quickly became clear that testing would be key to our return to work. In parallel, our sister Guilds and Unions – the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Basic Crafts, and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists – were undergoing similar processes. And we locked arms in unprecedented coordination and solidarity. Together, we worked with the employers on a white paper for state governments to examine the resumption of production.

The Guilds and Unions then collaborated to develop a comprehensive set of proposed safety protocols for production entitled The Safe Way Forward. And from there, we sat down with employers, represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), to negotiate safety protocols and guidelines for film and television productions.

Leading the DGA's dedicated Committee in those negotiations were Chair Steven Soderbergh and Co-Chair Paris Barclay, together with National Executive Director Russell Hollander and staff executives. Thanks to their herculean efforts, perseverance, and expertise, the Guild, along with our sister Unions, concluded negotiations for the COVID-19 Return to Work Safety Agreement, which now applies to productions covered under the Basic Agreement and FLTTA. I want to recognize every member of our Committee (listed below) for all their hard work, and for making themselves available at a moment’s notice over these past few months.

Although there is no way to guarantee a virus-free set, the protocols we negotiated significantly reduce the risk that someone will contract COVID-19 at work and are among the most stringent standards in any industry in this country. Guiding principles include strictly enforced testing regimens and safety protocols, a zone-based set system, diligent use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and sick and quarantine pay — all of which are laid out in this Summary which I encourage you to read.

DGA Summary of Industry-Wide COVID-19 Return to Work Agreement

If you have any questions, please reach out to the Guild’s Contracts department at or (310) 289-2010.

Now let's get back to work.

Thomas Schlamme
DGA President

DGA Return To Work Committee

Steven Soderbergh, Chair
Paris Barclay, Co-Chair

Laura Belsey
Scott Z. Burns
Lesli Linka Glatter
Glenn Weiss

Maria Battle Campbell
Duncan Henderson
Joe Reidy
Mary Rae Thewlis

David Charles
Garry Hood