Please note: This MOU does not apply to Production Contract, SET Agreement, Broadway League Development Agreement, LORT, Off-Broadway League productions, COST, PACT, NEAT or any other agreement that has in place collectively bargained safety protocols.

Only employers that do not have separately negotiated COVID safety agreements will use this Memorandum of Understanding. If you have any questions as to the appropriate safety protocols for your production, please contact your business rep.

Expires Sunday, November 6, 2022

Actors’ Equity Association (“Equity”) and Employer are committed to ensuring safe and sanitary places of employment for Actors and Stage Managers. Equity and Employer also recognize the need for transparency and clarity around the COVID-19 pandemic for Theatres and Equity Members. Accordingly, Equity and Employer enter into this Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) regarding the COVID-19 pandemic operations for Theatres. To address the uncertainty around the transmissibility and virulence of COVID-19 and its variants, Employer and Equity agree to the following:

A. Safety Protocol Requirements. The Employer shall maintain safety protocols for their operations. The safety protocols must (i) comply with all federal, state, county, and city COVID-19 safety, and reporting requirements and (ii) be consistent with applicable Center for Disease Control COVID-19 guidance. It is understood that requirements and safety protocols may differ depending on the vaccination status of the Actors, Stage Managers, and individuals who interact with Equity Members for the production. Additionally:

1. Definitions.

a. “Vaccinated” means fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as defined by the CDC (i.e., more than 14 calendar days following receipt of a final dose of an FDA or World Health Organization authorized or approved vaccine). 

b. “Unvaccinated” refers to anyone who is not vaccinated, as defined above in 1(a). 

c. “Production Group” refers to Actors, Stage Managers, and individuals who interact with Equity Members for the production. 

d. “COVID-19 Community Risk Level” are the CDC’s current metrics for assessing community risk. There are three risk levels: High (Red), Medium (Yellow), and Low (Green) on the CDC website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html).  

e. For the purposes of these protocols, “Molecular” tests (e.g., Lucira, Accula) shall be deemed PCR tests.

2.    Provisions. When the “COVID-19 Community Risk Level” is: 

a. Improving from “high” to “medium” or “medium” to “low”, the higher-level controls outlined below should be maintained for at least two consecutive weeks before changing to the lower level’s controls.  

b. Worsening (from “low” to “medium” or “medium” to “high”), reinstate controls as soon as the “COVID-19 Community Risk Level” changes.  

3.    Controls Required for ALL “COVID-19 Community Risk Levels”:

a. Ventilation: The Employer shall conduct a ventilation inspection to verify adequate ventilation in audition, holding, rehearsal and performance spaces. If the inspection finds inadequate ventilation in closed spaces (for example, dressing rooms), the Employer agrees to add appropriate HEPA filtration units. The Employer shall review Equity’s ventilation guidance (https://www.actorsequity.org/resources/Producers/covid19-info/ventilation-guidance/) and provide that ventilation guidance to any ventilation professionals engaged to service the Employer’s system.

b. Vaccination: The safety protocols shall state whether the Employer is mandating vaccinations for the Production Group.

i. If the Employer mandates vaccinations as a condition of hiring or continued employment, the Employer must comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws regarding mandatory vaccinations, including any legally required exceptions, limitations, payments, leave, and recordkeeping. It is the Employer’s responsibility to ensure it is complying with those federal, state, and local laws.

ii. If the Employer is not mandating vaccinations, then the following will take place:

1. When there is only one unvaccinated individual in a Production Group, the testing cadence in section 4 below for the unvaccinated individual will be adhered to.

2. When there is more than one unvaccinated individual in a Production Group, the Employer’s safety protocols must include:

a. Daily testing for unvaccinated individuals will be required; AND

b. The Employer must notify Equity of the number of unvaccinated individuals; AND

c. Additional safety mitigation measures to protect the unvaccinated Actor(s) and/or Stage Manager(s), including masking requirements for rehearsals and ventilation enhancements.

c. COVID-19 Safety Manager(s): The Employer shall have at least one COVID-19 Safety Manager who has received COVID-19 safety compliance training and is responsible for implementing the safety protocols.

i. For auditions, at least one COVID-19 Safety Manager shall be onsite in the holding room.

ii. For rehearsals and performances, at least one COVID-19 Safety Manager shall be readily accessible to all Actors and Stage Managers. The Employer’s safety protocols must include the name(s) and contact information of the individual(s). 

d. Pre-Employment Testing: Covid-19 PCR negative test result within 72 hours, or Rapid Antigen negative test result within 4 hours, of the start of in-person work.

i. This shall also apply to individuals returning to in-person work from being out of town. 

e. Symptom Monitoring: Anyone who develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19 as defined by the CDC must self-report to the Employer’s COVID-19 Safety Manager, test for COVID-19 and isolate pending the results of a COVID-19 test.

i. If a symptomatic individual tests negative for COVID-19, then the individual may return to the workplace if they are well enough to do so and do not have any symptoms indicative of another infectious disease: 

1. If the initial test is an antigen test, then they shall take a Molecular test. If the Molecular test is negative, the individual may return to the workplace.

2. If the initial test is a Molecular test, then the individual may return to the workplace per these protocols. 

3. For Rules governing illness and sick leave in circumstances other than COVID-19 see Contract Rule in the agreement for the show, as applicable.

ii. If an asymptomatic individual tests positive: 

1. If the initial test is an antigen test, then they shall take a Molecular test. If the Molecular test is negative, the individual may return to the workplace. 

2. If the initial test is a Molecular test, the initial result shall be deemed to be a positive for the purpose of these Protocols. 

iii. Molecular tests shall be considered valid and conclusory unless there is a reasonable basis to believe there was an error in the administration or processing of the test. In which case, a supplemental lab-based PCR test may be administered. 

f. An individual who returns to work following a confirmed positive COVID-19 diagnosis will not require routine COVID-19 testing for a period of 30 days following their initial diagnosis unless they have been exposed (e.g., close contact) or developed symptoms for COVID-19, distinct from their usual state of health, in which case an FDA authorized, or approved antigen test shall be used. Thereafter they shall resume testing on the same frequency as the rest of the company.

g. For actors that are directed to kiss on the mouth in rehearsal and/or performance, workplace testing protocols for those specific actors and their covers will be no less than every workday that requires kissing. Actors can take a rapid antigen test supplied by the Employer 2-4 hours prior to the rehearsal or performance requiring kissing.

h. Testing Costs: Any costs relating to Covid-19 screening and testing shall be the sole responsibility of the Employer.

i. The Employer shall provide, at no cost to the Actors and Stage Managers, all personal protective equipment. In cases where an Employer employs an Actor or Stage Manager who is d/Deaf or hard of hearing, face masks for all employees who interact with Equity Members shall be the transparent type.  

4.    Controls for each “COVID-19 Community Risk Level”: 

a. High (Red):  

i. Masks: Respirators (N95, KN95, KF94) are required for all individuals in the Production Group. Actors may remove their masks when actively rehearsing or performing, but shall remain masked when offstage, unless they are actively quick changing

ii. Surveillance Testing: No less than three (3) times a week during in-person work for actors, stage managers, and everyone working in close, direct contact with actors (e.g., wardrobe fitters, dressers, hair and makeup crew).

1. For partially vaccinated and those who have not had a booster, workplace testing protocols will be no less than every workday.

2. Those in the production group that ALWAYS wear a respirator (N95, KN95, KF94) at the workplace and never work in close contact with the actors or stage managers may test no less than two (2) times a week.

b. Medium (Yellow): 

i. Masks: CDC-compliant face coverings are required (and respirators (N95, KN95, KF94) are recommended) for all individuals in the Production Group. Actors may remove their masks when actively rehearsing or performing, but shall remain masked when offstage, unless they are actively quick changing.

ii. Surveillance Testing: No less than two (2) times a week during in-person work for actors, stage managers, and everyone working in close, direct contact with actors (e.g., wardrobe fitters, dressers, hair and makeup crew). 

1. For partially vaccinated and those who have not had a booster, workplace testing protocols will be no less than three (3) times a week.

2. Those in the production group that ALWAYS wear a respirator (N95, KN95, KF94) at the workplace and never work in close contact with the actors or stage managers may test no less than one (1) time a week.  

c. Low (Green):

i. If an Employer HAS NOT yet submitted a written copy of the qualified design professional’s review to Equity (e.g., from a licensed mechanical engineer, certified industrial hygienist (CIH) or mechanical design professional as defined by state or provincial guidelines) that all areas within a space, including audition, holding, rehearsal and performance, utilized by the actors and/or stage managers  meet the minimum ventilation verification requirements in accordance with the document titled VENTILATION VERIFICATION FOR THEATRICAL FACILITIES and its appendices, then the following shall apply: 

1. Masks: Follow the parameters in Medium (Yellow) above.

2. Surveillance Testing: Follow the parameters in Medium (Yellow) above.  

ii. If an Employer HAS submitted a written copy of the qualified design professional’s review to Equity (see section 4.c.i.), HOWEVER, one or more areas within a space, including audition, holding, rehearsal and performance, utilized by the actors and/or stage managers do NOT meet the minimum ventilation verification requirements and require further repairs in accordance with the document titled VENTILATION VERIFICATION FOR THEATRICAL FACILITIES and its appendices, then the following shall apply: 

1. Masks: Follow the parameters in Medium (Yellow) above. 

2. Surveillance Testing: Follow the parameters in Medium (Yellow) above.

iii. If an Employer HAS submitted a written copy of the qualified design professional’s review to Equity (see section 4.c.i.) that ALL areas within a space meet minimum ventilation verification requirements in accordance with the document titled VENTILATION VERIFICATION FOR THEATRICAL FACILITIES and its appendices, then the following shall apply: 

1. Masks: For the first two consecutive weeks of each production’s in-person rehearsal, follow the parameters in Medium (Yellow). Starting on the third week of each production’s in-person rehearsal, CDC-compliant face coverings may be worn based on the individual’s informed level of personal risk or if there has been an exposure to a known COVID-positive individual. 

2. Surveillance Testing: For the first two consecutive weeks of each production’s in-person rehearsal, Molecular or antigen testing will take place no less than two (2) times a week during in-person work for actors, stage managers, and everyone working in close, direct contact with actors (e.g., wardrobe fitters, dressers, hair and makeup crew). Starting on the third week of each production’s in-person rehearsal, testing protocols will be: 

a. The Employer will provide tests based on individual’s informed level of personal risk or if there has been an exposure to a known COVID-positive individual. 

b. For partially vaccinated, and those who have not had a booster, workplace testing protocols will be no less than two (2) times per week. 

5.    Protocols Following a Positive Test. 

a. Equity must be notified within 24 hours of a positive COVID-19 test in the Production Group via Equity’s online form: https://forms.office.com/r/0Gt20dxpUA 

b. When there is a positive test result in the production group, controls will be implemented for one “COVID-19 Community Risk Level” higher for at least two consecutive weeks (e.g., if the current COVID-19 Community Risk Level is Medium (Yellow) and a member of the production group tests positive, the High (Red) protocols outlined in Section 4 will be implemented for at least two consecutive weeks following the positive test.

c. All individuals in the Production Group who are confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19 shall isolate and quarantine consistent with applicable CDC guidance and are recommended to receive an evaluation from a licensed health care provider.

d. The COVID-19 Safety Manager(s) will (i) ensure that anyone with a positive test immediately isolates from the Production Group and (ii) encourage them to contact their licensed health care provider for further instructions. The COVID-19 Safety Manager will stay in contact with an Actor or Stage Manager who must quarantine or isolate due to a positive test.

e. An individual may return to work consistent with up-to-date public health guidance, including using the CDC’s symptoms-based strategy if symptomatic and time-based strategy if asymptomatic. The parties will update return to work protocols consistent with updates to the CDC guidance. The current return-to-work guidelines are:

i. An individual must isolate, irrespective of whether they are symptomatic, if they contract COVID-19. The period of isolation is calculated as follows:

1. Day 0 is the first day of symptoms

2. If no symptoms, Day 0 is the date of the initial positive test. If symptoms develop after the positive test the clock resets and Day 0 is the first day of symptoms 

3. Day 1 is the first full day following Day 0 

ii. An individual may leave isolation after Day 5 and resume activity (no sooner than Day 6) if: 

1. They are symptom-free (based on the CDC COVID-19 symptoms list); AND 

2. They either (a) test negative on an antigen test taken on or after Day 5 or (b) are asymptomatic for 5 consecutive days; AND 

3. For the subsequent remainder of the 10-day period following Day 0 they must, at all times, be able to wear a well-fitting KN95 or KF94 mask. 

  • If an individual does not meet all of the criteria above, they must continue to isolate through Day 10. After Day 10, the individual may return to work only if they are symptom-free (based on the CDC COVID-19 symptoms list).

f. The COVID-19 Safety Manager will determine who has been exposed and what additional precautions, such as additional testing, masking and contact tracing, are necessary.

g. Employer shall continue full compensation for actors and stage managers requiring self-isolation. Employer’s obligation to continue compensation and housing shall not be limited by the expiration of an actor or stage manager’s individual employment agreement, provided actor or stage manager remains under self-isolation. Any cancellation of rehearsal or performances related to COVID-19 will not reduce actors or stage managers’ rights to compensation, housing, and other benefits under this contract.

h. If an Actor or Stage Manager engaged away from their place of residence must quarantine or isolate during the term of their employment, the Employer shall arrange for access at reasonable intervals to deliveries of food, groceries, laundry, and medications and must pay any delivery fees. The Actor or Stage Manager shall be responsible for the cost of the goods and services. 

i. If an Actor or Stage Manager who must quarantine or isolate is being housed by the Employer in shared housing, the Employer will arrange for alternative housing during the quarantine or isolation.

j. Actors and Stage Managers who may have been exposed to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 will be immediately notified. The Employer will maintain confidentiality as required by federal, state, and local law. 

k. In the event of a positive test in the Production Group, follow-up testing shall be conducted immediately and on Day 5 for any individual(s) in the Production Group whom the COVID-19 Safety Manager determines was exposed.

l. If more than two individuals in the Production Group test positive for COVID-19 within three consecutive days, excluding false positives (see Sections 3.e.i.1, 3.e.ii.1 and 3.e.iii), then for a period of seven (7) calendar days starting with the day of the third confirmed COVID-19 case the employer will: move to testing on each workday (with either an antigen or Molecular test) and require KN95 or KF94 masks at all times, except when doing so is incompatible or interferes with their job responsibilities or part of the performance. If Equity believes that additional steps may be appropriate, the Employer agrees to discuss with Equity within 24 hours of request.

m. If more than five individuals in the Production Group test positive for COVID-19 within seven consecutive days, excluding false positives (see Sections 3.e.i.1, 3.e.ii.1 and 3.e.iii), in-person work will be paused, and no individual in the Production Group shall return to in-person work unless and until they receive a negative result on a follow-up Molecular test. For a period of seven (7) calendar days starting with the first day when in-person work resumes, testing will take place each workday (with either an antigen or Molecular test) and require KN95 or KF94 masks at all times, except when doing so is incompatible or interferes with their job responsibilities or part of the performance. 

6.    Audience and Public Interaction.

a. No visitors will be allowed backstage, and the Employer shall post signage backstage to that effect.

b. When the CDC’s “COVID-19 Community Level” for the county is High (Red) or Medium (Yellow), an unvaccinated, unmasked Actor must not be within ten (10) feet of the audience members; unless (i) passing within ten (10) feet of audience members when entering or exiting the stage or (ii) being within ten (10) feet of audience members who are either vaccinated or masked.

c. For performance, the Employer will not require or request any in-person interaction between Actors or Stage Managers and patrons.

d. Autograph signings, meet-and-greets with patrons, and backstage tours are strictly prohibited.

e. Approval of press events outside of Employer-controlled venues will be given by the COVID-19 Safety Manager(s).

f. When the CDC’s “COVID-19 Community Level” for the county is High (Red) or Medium (Yellow), talkbacks may only happen if, during the talkback, there is at least ten (10) feet between any unvaccinated Actor(s) and Stage Manager(s) and any unvaccinated, unmasked audience members.

g. In-person presentations (i.e., preshow speakers or talkback moderators) to the audience may only be made by an Actor or Stage Manager who is vaccinated.

h. If an Actor or Stage Manager in the Production Group is unvaccinated, the Employer may only have outside organizations in the same space(s) as unvaccinated individuals in the Production Group under the following circumstances:

i. The outside organization is fully vaccinated; OR

ii. The outside organization does not occupy the same rehearsal or performance space at the same time as unvaccinated individuals in the Production Group, and there is adequate time for air changes and cleaning to take place, OR

iii. The outside organization follows all safety mitigation measures established by the Employer to protect the unvaccinated Actor(s) and/or Stage Manager(s). For masking, respirators (N95, KN95, KF94) will be required for both the Production Group and the outside organization.  

B. Notices to Equity Members. 

1. When available, the Employer shall include a copy of its safety protocols with each Equity Member’s contract. When the Employer’s safety protocols are not included with an Equity Member’s contract, the Employer shall provide a copy of its safety protocols as early as possible but in no event later than two weeks before the first in-person rehearsal.

2. The name(s) and contact information of the COVID-19 Safety Manager shall be posted on the call board throughout the production.

3. A COVID-19 Safety Manager will review the safety protocols with Equity Members and all other applicable employees on the first day of in-person rehearsal.

C. Duties of Actors and Stage Managers. Actors and Stage Managers agree to abide by all their individual responsibilities under the safety protocols. The roles of actors, stage managers and assistant stage managers require work during rehearsal and performance which would render them unable to be “readily accessible to all Actors and Stage Managers” and, therefore, they may not serve in the function of CSM.

D. Compliance with Safety Protocols.

1. Equity shall have the right to request a copy of the Employer’s safety protocols and information related to an Employer’s implementation of its safety protocols. In no event shall the Employer be required to disclose any information that the Employer is required to keep confidential by any federal, state, or local law.

2. If Equity believes that an Employer has not followed the Employer’s safety protocols, Equity will provide written notice of all deficiencies to the Employer. Unless the Employer promptly responds to the notice, Equity may require Actors and Stage Managers to refrain from rehearsing and/or performing until the Employer responds. Actors’ and Stage Managers’ pay shall not be reduced if the Employer must cancel a rehearsal or performance to address a deficiency. If the Employer closes the production in lieu of addressing a deficiency, the Actors and Stage Managers shall be compensated two weeks’ salary and benefits or the remainder of their contracts, whichever is less. 

E. Tours. Overnight tours that take place within the United States of America may be produced using this MOU using the provisions working under the High (Red) level per the “COVID-19 Community Risk Level”.

F. Outdoor Productions. Masks are not required of the production group while working outdoors, regardless of CDC risk level. Masks still need to be worn in accordance with the appropriate risk level for any activity indoors (rehearsal, bathrooms, dressing rooms, etc.). In ALL other respects, outdoor productions must follow this MOU, including the CDC’s and local government’s public health recommendations.  

G. Termination. For any closing of the production related to COVID-19, the Employer may either (i) use the terms of Equity’s media terms, as applicable, or (ii) pay the Actors and Stage Managers salary and benefits for two weeks or the remainder of their contract, whichever is less. 

If the Employer elects to use a COVID-19 Media Option per (i) above, in no event will the actor or stage manager receive less than the compensation indicated in (ii), regardless of scope or duration of media usage. 

H. Non-precedential/Non-cite. This MOU is made on a non-precedential basis. Neither Employer and its members nor Equity and its members shall refer to or cite this MOU, or any part thereof, in any hearing, arbitration, or other litigation, except for a proceeding to enforce the specific terms of this MOU. 

I. Duration. This MOU shall expire on Sunday, November 6, 2022.