EXCLUSIVE: Netflix has become the first major Hollywood studio to implement a blanket policy mandating vaccinations for the casts of all of its U.S. productions, as well as those who come into contact with them on set.
I hear the streamer just informed its production teams and partners that it will be requiring vaccinations for everyone working in “Zone A,” which consists of the actors and those who come in close proximity to them.
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The new return-to-work protocols agreed upon by the Hollywood unions and major studios last week give producers “the option to implement mandatory vaccination policies for casts and crew in Zone A on a production-by-production basis.”
Some productions, like the Starz/UCP series Gaslit, have adopted the mandatory vaccination policy. Netflix is making it standard across the board in the U.S.
I hear the streamer aims to keep exceptions very rare, limited to medical, religious or age reasons and possibly in a few cases for series and films that are already in production.
Netflix’s decision comes amid a fourth Covid wave in the U.S. fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant, which brought Covid safety on set back to the spotlight. While vaccination is not a silver bullet — there have been breakthrough infections for fully vaccinated people — it is considered a crucial safeguard alongside existing safety protocols including regular testing, PPE and social distancing.
The vaccine mandate is the strongest measure Netflix could enforce under the current return-to-work protocols. There have been calls to expand the vaccination requirement beyond Zone A.
Deadline revealed last week that actor and activist Sean Penn won’t return to work on Gaslit until everyone on the production has been vaccinated for the virus.
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