With the Delta variant becoming part of the everyday lexicon and more and more companies making choices about their workforces, Netflix has announced a new protocol for their productions moving forward. According to Deadline, the streaming company has mandated that certain personnel on their productions will have to have the Covid-19 vaccine in order to return to work. This is becoming more and more prevalent in recent weeks and could be the new marching orders for larger companies.
The announcement from Netflix that all Zone-A employees will be required to have the Covid-19 vaccine comes on the heels of a number of different productions having to be shut down in recent weeks because of positive tests on the set. Zone-A refers to the actors on a set as well as those who would be in close contact with them. Netflix is apparently working to ensure they won’t have to have further work and production stoppages with this new requirement. The hope being that vaccines across the board will mitigate positive on-set tests in the future.
This move by Netflix had support from the various Hollywood unions associated with productions. The two sides, studios and unions, came to agreements about return-to-work rules. Those would allow productions to maintain consistency around filming and work to avoid long delays because of on-set health protocols. The decision wasn’t made in a void and a number of other non-production companies are beginning to implement similar measures for their employees. Google and Facebook both recently announced that employees will be required to have had the vaccine in order to return to in-person work areas.
Other companies like Merrill Lynch and Bank of America have done the same. And on a governmental level, it was recently announced that federal workers will need to show proof of a vaccine or submit to mandatory testing in order to return to work. This isn’t just Netflix with these new rules.
Netflix was dealt a blow when their most popular series, Bridgerton, had to shut down production for over a day because a cast and crew member had tested positive for Covid-19. The series, based on the novels of the same name, was filming its highly-anticipated second season when it got the word about the testing. But this isn’t the only production that has faced delays because of the ongoing pandemic. HBO’s Westworld was shut down, as was the Game of Thrones prequel House of Dragons. American Horror Story from FX also faced a delay. These haven’t been isolated incidents by any stretch of the imagination.
What the future holds for other Hollywood and Netflix productions remains to be seen. Though the positive testing numbers have declined considerably over the last many months, concerns about the Delta variant and vaccine numbers have brought the discussion back into the forefront. With more and more companies requiring Covid-19 vaccines to return back to work, this is unlikely to be the last we hear on the subject. Netflix, for sure, won’t be the last production company to mandate this among their workforce. I suspect others will quickly follow suit.