5/24/2021 -- Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the goal of the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) has been to get our members back to work as soon, safely, and responsibly as possible. The Expert Medical Advisory Board we retained has addressed the unique risks of singing, speaking loudly, engaging in strenuous physical activity, and doing these activities in close physical proximity to others.
All four (4) versions of the AGMA/SDC Return to Stage and Performing Arts Playbook, and the Special Surge Guidance issued in December 2020, carefully crafted the protective measures these experts believed were needed, at that stage of the pandemic, to mitigate the very real, life-threatening risks to artists.
In recent days, there has been a tidal wave of reopening announcements and new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) directives on masks, vaccinations, and testing. The federal government and many state and local jurisdictions are lifting restrictions on mask wearing and the size of both indoor and outdoor gatherings at rapid speed, especially after more than a year in which practicing extreme caution has been the rule.
On May 16, 2021, the CDC issued new guidelines on mask wearing for fully vaccinated individuals. Notably, this guidance was not meant to be a one-size-fits-all model and, indeed, stated that individuals “will still need to follow guidance at your workplace and local businesses.”
The purpose of this Special Guidance on Vaccinations and Testing is to help employers of AGMA and SDC members balance the unique risks of COVID-19 to performing artists with the increasing number of fully vaccinated individuals working in our companies and productions and more reliable and cost-effective testing protocols.
Note: This memo was also sent to AGMA Signatories on May 24.