The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) has hired a team of three epidemiologists to consult the union on best practices for workers in the entertainment industry to safely return to work. The move comes as workers in all sectors of the industry face unprecedented levels of unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and employers look to find a way to resume business.
IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb said, “We want everyone to get back to work as soon as possible, but we need to do it right. We are working with these epidemiologists and employers to create standards that will apply across the board in the US and Canada, so no production or worker is left behind.”
The epidemiologists include:
David H. Wegman, M.D., M.P.H., Emeritus Professor of Work Environment at Umass Lowell and Adjunct Professor for the Harvard School of Public Health
Letitia Davis, ScD, EdM, retired director of the Occupational Health Surveillance Program (OHSP) in the MA Department of Public Health.
Gregory R. Wagner, M.D., Adjunct Professor of Environmental Health Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
The nature of the entertainment industry presents unique challenges in a global pandemic. Much of the live event industry is dependent on drawing crowds of people for revenue. And behind the scenes, many workers, like those in Hair and Make-up and Wardrobe departments, must work in extremely close proximity to others to do their jobs. “Creative jobs will require creative measures to come back safely,” said Loeb. “These professionals will help us uncover what those measures should be.”