United Kingdom

Netflix becomes first major studio to require COVID vaccinations on all US productions 

Netflix announced on Wednesday that it would be requiring proof of COVID vaccination for all working close to the actors on set - the first major studio to make the jab mandatory.

The ruling will apply to all working in 'Zone A', which means the actors and those who come in close proximity to them, Deadline reported.

Last week Hollywood unions and the major film studios met and agreed a new plan for limiting the interruptions caused by the pandemic, which gave producers 'the option to implement mandatory vaccination policies for casts and crew in Zone A on a production-by-production basis.' 

Netflix decided to make the policy routine for all its U.S. productions.

Adam Sandler is seen filming new Netflix movie Hustle on the streets of Philadelphia. The crew on set can all be seen wearing face masks and Sandler also wears a mask in between takes. Netflix has now made vaccinations mandatory for all actors and those in close proximity

The Netflix logo is displayed in front of the Albuquerque Studios, also known as Q Studios

The vaccine mandate is the strongest measure Netflix could enforce under the current return-to-work protocols, the site reported. 

Exemptions for medical, religious or age reasons may apply on Netflix sets, a source told The Hollywood Reporter. 

In addition, shows and films already in production with Netflix may be able to continue on even if certain members of the production aren't vaccinated - although those exceptions are expected to be rare. 

There have been calls from within the industry to expand the vaccination requirement beyond Zone A. 

Sean Penn last week announced that he would not return to the set of the Watergate drama Gaslit, which he stars in alongside Julia Roberts, until the entire cast and crew were vaccinated.

Sean Penn is seen at the Cannes Film Festival on July 11. He returned from the event and insisted that he would not return to filming until the entire production was vaccinated

Penn said that he would be happy to assist with vaccinating the cast and crew, free of charge, through his CORE organization - Community Organized Relief Effort

NBCUniversal said they would insist on vaccinations for everyone in Zone A, but Penn said that that was not good enough, and the entire production team needed to be vaccinated.

The current status of filming was unclear. Penn reportedly had several weeks of filming to complete.

The Oscar-winning actor has offered to facilitate the vaccination effort, free of charge, through his relief agency, CORE.

The move comes amid rising concern about the spread of the Delta variant.

Los Angeles County on July 17 became the first in the nation to reimpose mask mandates. St Louis, Missouri and Savannah, Georgia have since followed suit. In Las Vegas, employees are being made once more to wear face masks, although guests will not have to.

Anna Chlumsky is seen on the film set of the Netflix show 'Inventing Anna', in October 2020

On Wednesday Twitter announced that it was closing its two biggest offices - in New York City and San Francisco - amid the rise in cases.

Twitter opened its offices two weeks ago, and was requiring proof of vaccination for any employees wanting to return to the office. 

Earlier Google and Facebook said that they would be requiring proof of vaccination for all people returning to the office in October. 

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