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Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021

Do you like to watch the credits after a movie? I do. I especially like to see which locations were used and the list of songs in the soundtrack. But, except for wondering what the “best boy” did, I’ve never thought much about the jobs listed. Then my daughter sent me this:

Credits from Clint Eastwood’s new movie, “Cry Macho”

There are four Covid jobs on this list! What do they do? Do other places have them? Is this one of the ways we’re going to “live with the virus”? In another year or two will the titles be more generic, maybe “infection control officer” like in a hospital, or “virus coordinator” or “pandemic manager” (heaven forbid!)? Or will we continue to need dedicated Covid Compliance Officers for the foreseeable future? Hard to tell when things are changing so fast. A year ago we didn’t even know we would need them now.

I found one description of a Covid Compliance Officer (CCO), in PureWow (link below). It’s an interview with Erika DeSimone, an event producer, who trained for this job when all her events were cancelled in 2020. The CCO’s job is to prevent the spread of Covid by planning and enforcing Covid compliance in every aspect of a production, from location and meals to distancing and masks. Not always the most popular job around, but she said staff members did take it more seriously after Tom Cruise blew up on the set of “Mission Impossible 7” because people were not following Covid protocols. (link below).

Doing searches on Covid Compliance Officer turned up so much information that all I can do here is skim the surface. Here are a few things I found out:

  • CCO’s function on many levels. In large productions such as the Clint Eastwood picture above, they have a staff. In smaller productions such as the “Pretty Woman” stage production cited below, one person oversees Covid precautions along with their other responsibilities.
  • CCO’s function in a variety of industries besides entertainment, such as sports, education, hospitality, and travel. There are now consulting firms that can supply personnel for Covid management on a project site as needed.
  • There are CCO jobs advertised on the job search sites and, as you might expect, salaries range widely depending on the size and scope of the production, project, or industry.
  • Job descriptions vary, but basically the CCO has to keep current on Covid-related protocols and make sure they are carried out, including defining specific protocols and monitoring compliance, educating staff, responding to outbreaks–all this, over a variety of job-related situations, such as meal service, filming, meetings, classes, sports, tours, etc. Vaccines help control infection, but for the Compliance Officer, they add another layer of oversight complexity as well. For example, at this point we still don’t know how long vaccination protection lasts.
  • CCO training is advertised on multiple sites, with a wide range of possibilities.

A couple of examples:

NPWorks has a listing for a temporary COVID-19 Compliance Officer at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego. It’s full-time, pays $ 25/ hour, requires certification, and is expected to last 6 months. Make sense. Who knows how long they will need this position? https://npworks.org/job-details/temporary-covid-19-compliance-officer/

On a more permanent level: Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has an upgraded medical center on board with a separate Controlled Care Center for infectious diseases. In addition to two doctors, they have four registered nurses, one of whom is the new Infection Control Officer. https://www.royalcaribbean.com/the-healthy-sail-center/medical-center

This is where I see us going in the future–infection control will replace Covid control. But for now, it looks like Covid-19 has spawned a whole new industry.

Related Headlines

“Hollywood Battle Lines Emerge in Simmering Vaccine War,” The Hollywood Reporter, Oct. 6, 2021. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/business-news/covid-vaccine-mandate-hollywood-1235026178/

“Q-and-A: PPAC’s Technical Director Shares What It’s Like to Prepare for Pretty Woman in COVID,” Rhode Island Monthly, Oct. 8, 2021. https://www.rimonthly.com/pretty-woman-in-covid/

“What’s a Covid Compliance Officer? All You Need to Know About This New Pandemic-Era Job,” PureWow, March 15, 2021. https://www.purewow.com/money/what-is-a-covid-compliance-officer

“Inside Tom Cruise’s On-Set Outburst: ‘He’s a Perfectionist and Expects Others to Follow Suit,’ Source,” People, Dec. 21, 2020.

“What is a COVID-19 compliance supervisor? What to know about Hollywood’s newest job,” L.A.Times, Oct. 27, 2020. https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2020-10-27/covid-compliance-supervisors-hollywood-pandemic

Why am I doing this?

The coronavirus pandemic will be indelibly written on our memories just as the Great Depression or the Battle of Britain left their mark on past generations. I intend to journal the pandemic experience from three perspectives: as a retired medical technologist, as a historian (Ph.D., 2014), and an ordinary person living through an extraordinary world crisis.

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