Lionsgate, a prominent movie studio in Santa Monica, California, notified employees it has reinstated mask mandates in its office, according to a Fox News report.
An email sent to employees on Monday by Sommer McElroy, response manager for Lionsgate/Starz, detailed the new protocols, the report noted.
Effective immediately, masks will be required on specific floors in their Santa Monica offices “until further notice,” McElroy informed studio employees.
He claimed in the email that several employees have tested positive for COVID-19 amid a returning rise in reported coronavirus cases.
“The reason you have an uptick in cases right now is not because you did something wrong, it’s because for the last several years, we’ve seen an uptick in cases in the winter, and we also see one in the end of summer,” Dr. Nicole Saphier explained in a recent airing of the Fox program “Outnumbered.”
“This is just a normal cycle of this respiratory virus,” Saphier continued. “The bottom line: COVID is not what it was three years ago and we have to move forward.”
Lionsgate management is returning to pandemic strength countermeasures with their mask mandate, which affects “nearly half of the company’s employees at its flagship office at 2700 Colorado Ave. in Santa Monica.”
“Employees must wear a medical grade face covering when indoors except when alone in an office with the door closed, actively eating, actively drinking at their desk or workstation, or if they are the only individual present in a large open workspace,” McElroy explained in his memo.
Lionsgate is also implementing a building entry policy, according to the Fox report.
Every employee is “required to perform a daily self-screening prior to coming to the office each day.”
Employees also must inform McElroy if they experience “new or worsening symptoms” or if they have “travelled internationally in the last 10 days.”
Lionsgate will conduct contact tracing and notify “all individuals who have been in close contact with employees who have tested positive for COVID-19,” McElroy informed memo recipients.
At-home test kits will be provided to employees upon request, and surgical masks and KN95s will be available at the office’s front desk, but N95s will only be distributed to employees if asked for.
Saphier remarked on the potential return of mask mandates, emphasizing that high-quality masks like N-95s should be considered for those who are immunocompromised or work with such individuals “not a single layer of cloth or surgical mask.
“Those don’t actually work as we’ve seen by many, many studies,” she told the Fox hosts. “But to actually say, you know, to wear masks again in the house and just being in public spaces, we have to move on.”
“Outnumbered” hosts noted that several mainstream media outlets have been discussing the possibility of returning to mask-wearing during the episode that aired August 17.
For instance, MSNBC highlighted the importance of kids wearing masks at the start of the school year.
PBS discussed the benefits of masking in crowded areas, and “CBS Mornings” talked about a potential “summer COVID spike” due to people becoming complacent about mask-wearing.