By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Groups representing actors, independent producers and advertisers are calling for a temporary hold on in-person production in Southern California ahead of what some experts say will be a post-holiday surge of COVID-19 cases that could overwhelm hospitals.

The joint statement issued by SAG-AFTRA, the Joint Policy Committee that represents commercial advertisers and ad
agencies and the Producers Guild of America urged SAG-AFTRA members to stay home and not accept on-set employment for the next several weeks.

Anyone required to work despite safety concerns was urged to call the union.

“Southern California hospitals are facing a crisis the likes of which we have never seen before,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “Patients are dying in ambulances waiting for treatment because hospital emergency rooms are overwhelmed. This is not a safe environment for in-person production right now.”

David White, SAG-AFTRA’s National Executive Director, says despite COVID mitigation measures, one of the biggest concerns is with how a worker injured on set is supposed to seek treatment amid a shortage of hospital beds.

In its own statement, the Producers Guild of America urged members to delay production.

“Independent producers can help hold the line in this crisis by taking the difficult but responsible step of postponing production for now. We can and will do what it takes to protect our cast and crew, and our community,” said Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher, PGA’s Presidents.

A production hiatus was already in place for major studios in Southern California until at least mid-January.