Oscars COVID protocols: Who’s vaxxed, masked and distanced

Omicron’s surge backs off. Mask mandates end. And after two years of Zoom fatigue and social distancing, the film academy is determined to bring the glitz and glamor of Before Times back to this year’s Oscars.

Sunday’s Oscars will look much more normal this year than last year, when the ceremony was moved to Union Station and, with vaccines still being rolled out, audiences were limited to just 170 attendees for the mostly hidden.

The event returns home to the Dolby Theater. The A-listers will once again walk the red carpet. The evenings canceled for two years will be back in force. And you’ll see far fewer masks on the faces of beautiful people than last year.

Yet, as fervently as anyone might wish, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over yet, so Oscar planners are taking steps to try to ensure attendees stay safe — and the most Hollywood’s biggest night doesn’t turn into Hollywood’s biggest. super-spreader event.

There is reason to be careful. The recent British Academy Film Awards, held in London on March 13 amid a surge of COVID-19, are now believed to have led to dozens of infections, including among some of the Oscar nominees from this year, such as “Belfast” director Kenneth Branagh and the film’s Ciarán Hinds, a nominated supporting actor.

But while BAFTA attendees were only required to provide a negative antigen test and masks were largely optional, the Oscars are enforcing stricter COVID-19 protocols, even as the number of infections and d L.A. hospitalizations have fallen sharply in recent weeks.

Here are three steps taken by the film academy:

Tests and vaccines

Those attending the Oscars will be required to submit two negative PCR tests as well as proof of vaccination, the academy said. Presenters and performers at the Oscars will not be required to be vaccinated but will have to show that they have recently tested negative for the virus.

In an email sent Friday, the academy said anyone within a five-day window of testing positive will not be allowed to attend the Oscars under any circumstances.

Masks and distancing

Members of the media covering the red carpet will be required to wear masks, as will attendees inside Dolby who are seated outside the orchestra section. While the theater normally seats more than 3,000 people, attendance will be more limited this year, with some seats removed to ensure greater social distancing.

In its Friday email, the academy urged attendees to minimize their COVID-related risks as they approach the show by “avoiding enclosed and crowded spaces” and limiting prolonged interactions with people outside the venue. family, friends and colleagues.

Gatherings

As in the pre-pandemic era, the week leading up to the Oscars was filled with in-person gatherings, including Friday’s Governors Awards, and Oscar night itself will see the return of era after-parties. pre-pandemic such as the Governors Ball and the Vanity Fair party.

All of these events have instituted their own COVID-19 protocols. But whenever crowds gather, as we know, there is a possibility that the virus will spread.

Yet with the industry eager to turn the page on a pandemic that has upended decades-old business models and crushed the box office, many in Hollywood are desperate to get back to normal. Or at least to settle into a new normal.

“People are ready to come out of isolation,” a rewards consultant told The Times. “The BAFTA news was a little worrying, but I think it would take someone to, you know, die to keep Hollywood away from the Oscars.”

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