Amid the rise in vaccinations and decline in COVID-19 case rates in California, Sony Pictures Entertainment is looking to have employees begin returning to the lot in Culver City, Calif. beginning on June 1.
The studio has a “tentative eye towards being fully up to speed on the lot by Labor Day,” according to an internal memo from Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra.
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“In preparation for this next phase, we are putting in place additional safety measures including an enhanced cleaning regimen, upgraded air conditioning filters, UV lighting inside air conditioning equipment where possible, and increased outside air circulation,” reads the memo.
Sony staffers who are interested in returning to the office during this first wave can expect to see the lot divvied up into “production” and “office” zones, and must stay within their assigned zones, complete with assigned parking area and food and beverage options. Conference room capacity will be limited to abide by distancing guidelines, with virtual meetings preferred over in-person meetings. Hybrid schedules, i.e. schedules that balance working from home with in-office attendance, are also likely to be more common. In keeping with CDC guidelines, employees will be asked to wear masks and socially distance.
“The progress we are seeing worldwide in managing the virus’s spread and life slowly inching back to normal is some of the most exciting news we have seen throughout this difficult year,” said Vinciquerra in the letter. “There is every reason to feel optimistic about the direction things are now headed. That said, please continue to be safe and adhere to CDC guidance and safety protocols.”
Active television and film productions have been back in action on the Sony lot for some months now — there are currently seven TV productions on the lot, and “Bullet Train” just wrapped. The new protocols will not lead to an increase in production at Sony, since the lot is already at full capacity.
Sony is far from the only Hollywood company emerging from a work-from-home state. The Walt Disney Co. is gradually bringing staffers back with a phased reopening after July 4, while Fox Corp has deferred its reopen date from April to no earlier than Sept. 7. And as Variety recently reported, offices across town are navigating the complex task of having workers safely return to work — a feat that has involved a complete reconfiguring of its corporate spaces.
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