As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to rage throughout the U.S., many markets have been hampered. The entertainment industry, like many others, has made adjustments to continue putting on a show.
Actor and former Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) Atlanta Local President Ric Reitz joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss how the entertainment industry is dealing with the pandemic.
Reitz attended Bowling Green State University before moving to New York City to pursue a career in acting. After his wife was relocated to Atlanta, GA, Reitz moved south with her.
As he got involved with SAG-AFTRA, the Atlanta entertainment industry was going through a period of organizing, which got him involved with the local union.
Optimizing safety in the entertainment industry
Reitz said safety has been a huge point of emphasis in the entertainment industry. After stopping productions last spring, the industry realized they needed to get back to work in a safe manner and began crafting safety protocols to keep everyone safe, from hair and makeup artists, to the actors and actresses themselves.
In Atlanta, the Tyler Perry Studios were put to good use. Reitz said entire productions were able to be housed, fed and work on location.
Protocols were established to keep entire production teams as safe as possible while still working. For example, everyone involved was required to complete a two-week quarantine, then successfully test negative. Rehearsals were done wearing masks and face shields and the final shots would be completed without face coverings.
The union difference
The union difference is often discussed on AWF Union Podcast. The entertainment industry is no different. Reitz said union workers in the entertainment industry were great about establishing safety protocols and have abide by them, allowing everyone to go to work and earn a living.