SAG-AFTRA Tells Broadcast News Reporters They Must Be Provided Hazmat Suits If Assigned To Cover Coronavirus Hotspots

SAG-AFTRA, which represents thousands of TV and radio news broadcasters around the country, is telling them to avoid traveling to coronavirus “hotspots” if possible, and that “if assigned to go into a hotspot, you must be provided a hazmat suit, respirator and proper training.”

The union also said: “Reporters should not conduct in-person interviews with individuals who are known to have been exposed or have been diagnosed with COVID-19. All such interviews must be conducted with the use of phone, video-chat, etc. While it is the responsibility of the employer to maintain a safe working environment for you,” the guild said, “personal care can also help in keeping everyone safe during this time of abundant caution.”

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The union’s other COVID-19 safety tips for broadcasters include:

• Common areas in broadcast facilities should be cleaned/sanitized regularly. Studios should be cleaned/sanitized before and after each shift.
• Use disposable covers to protect mics or boom mics to avoid touching. Lip microphones should not be shared.
• Conduct interviews by phone or video when possible.
• Limit sharing of equipment as much as possible. Shared equipment should be disinfected after each use.
• Use disinfecting towelettes to wipe down equipment before and after use.
• Regularly wipe down cell phone.
• Get your own food and water and social distance from others while dining.
• Bring your own makeup, brushes or sponges.
• Ask your employer about the possibility of setting up a home studio.
• Man-on-the-street interviews should be avoided, if possible.
• All other interviews shall be done in conformity with the social distancing rules established by the CDC, especially trying to conform to a six-foot distance between people when possible. If unable to do so, alternatives to in-person interviews must be performed. i.e., use of phone, video-chat, etc.
• If assigned to a press conference, you must make arrangements to conform with social distancing rules or monitor the conference remotely.

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