Three COVID Outbreaks Reported at Entertainment Industry Facilities

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Three COVID outbreaks have been reported over the last week at entertainment industry facilities, as the delta variant causes a spike in cases in Los Angeles County.

The worst of the three hit the Motion Picture Industry Pension & Health Plan offices in Studio City, where six people tested positive. MPIPHP has since imposed a vaccine mandate for its staff, which is set to take effect on Sept. 7.

A second outbreak was reported at Endemol Shine North America, the producer of unscripted TV shows, which is based in North Hollywood. That outbreak involved three people. It was apparently connected to one of the company’s productions, and not to the office building. The outbreak did not cause a halt to production, and the company did not identify which show was involved.

The third outbreak, involving four individuals, was reported at NBC Universal’s post production facility at Universal City. NBCUniversal did not have further information about that incident.

On Friday, the Walt Disney Co. announced that it would require U.S. employees to get vaccinated. The requirement applies to all salaried employees, as well as non-union hourly employees. The company also indicated it would begin talks with unions on implementing the mandate for their members.

Film and TV productions also have the option to mandate vaccines for “Zone A” workers — that is, actors and others who work on set. Netflix is requiring vaccines for Zone A on all of its U.S. productions, while other companies implementing a mandate on a production-by-production basis.

Outbreaks are reported to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health when three or more people are infected at one location. Variety has previously reported that some productions have shut down after just a single positive test. The Hulu series “Woke” shut down twice last week after separate positive tests, and shut down for a third time this week after three more people tested positive.

Compared to the worst days of the pandemic last December, the outbreaks remain relatively limited. And while the COVID cases continue to increase in Los Angeles County, the rate of increase has slowed compared to a week ago.

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