Academy Announces Stricter COVID Protocols Ahead of Oscars Ceremony

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has cracked down on COVID protocols ahead of Sunday’s live ceremony on March 27.

An Academy press release deemed that those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are within a zero to five-day window from the date of their first positive test are not permitted to attend “under any circumstances.” The news comes after a spike that followed the recent BAFTAs weekend (March 13) and rising cases in the U.K. overall. Oscar nominee and “Belfast” director Kenneth Branagh was among those who tested positive as of a THR report on March 19, as well as actor Ciaran Hinds. They were therefore not able to attend last weekend’s PGA Awards.

Those who are testing positive but are within a six- to 10-day window from the date of their first positive test must provide a negative PCR, Lucira, or Cue Health test, and it must be administered by a medically trained professional. If attendees are testing positive outside the 10-day window from March 17 at 1 p.m., they must provide a negative antigen test from a medical supervisor, taken on March 26 or March 27.

“The 10-day window is strictly determined by the date and time of the first positive test (antigen or PCR) from a printed lab report and is not based on a doctor’s note or start of symptoms,” the Academy press release stated. “If you tested positive after March 17 at 1 p.m. PT, you are considered within the 10-day window.”

The initial Oscars COVID protocols issued on March 11 required guests to be fully vaccinated (but not performers and presenters) and take two PCR tests — one taken on March 24 and another on March 26. However, masks are not required for attendees inside the Dolby Theatre. Now, masks are strongly recommended in the updated rules, as well as social distancing.

For members of the press, two COVID-19 tests are also required, with the first one being a PCR test and the second test being either a PCR test, Lucira or Cue Health test, except for those who are in days six to 10 of their recent infection. In that case, two negative PCR tests will be required, and no one within zero to five days will be permitted to attend.

The 94th Academy Awards air live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 27 starting at 5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET.

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