Local 802 Recording Session “Return To Work” Guidelines


In the interest of facilitating a resumption of recording work under its jurisdiction, the Executive Board of Local 802 AFM has adopted and recommends the following measures to ensure all participants – musicians, vocalists, and studio personnel alike – remain safe and healthy during the pandemic. Practical health considerations and mandates issued by city and state agencies with regard to safety in the workplace shall be foremost in planning for a reopening of recording session work in both commercial and private studio facilities.

Note to Vocalists

Vocalists working under Actors Equity, SAG-AFTRA, or AGMA agreements should refer to those organizations for specific guidelines and recommendations.


We wish to thank Local 47 AFM of Los Angeles for the hard work and thoughtful assessments that went into structuring these guidelines. Local 802 has made certain edits and amendments so as to align them with our local work environment.


1. Facilities

  1. Safety/Health practices to be maintained onsite throughout each session
    1. Studio to assume responsibility for ensuring the observation of all local, state and federal mandates on workplace reopening.
  2. Facilities to be required
    1. Hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, paper bags (for masks when not in use) for participants
    2. Adequate air circulation following city and state guidelines of fully replenished air every 4-5 minutes where possible
    3. Bathrooms must provide paper towels rather than air dryers
  3. Adjustments to existing entrance/exit, bathroom and catering protocols
    1. Assess adequate time allotments for entrance/exit and bathroom breaks in the context of both large ensemble and small group recording sessions
    2. Assess catering practices to ensure that
      1. Beverages are either in single-use containers or brought from home and in either case, promptly removed at the end of the session.
      2. Catering is either individually boxed, brought from home or prohibited.
  4. Sound stage, studio, booth and other on-site facilities to be cleaned and sanitized
    1. Full-site sanitizing after each day of sessions
    2. Sanitizing of gear and specific work areas after each session
    3. Sanitizing of drum and isolation booths if a personnel change occurs during a session.
    4. No refuse or trash to be left on site.
  5. Gear/Equipment
    1. Outside gear (i.e. gear brought in by engineers, etc.) to be restricted or sanitized
    2. Equipment and instruments provided by studio to be sanitized, including but not limited to all
      1. Headphones
      2. Chairs/baffles/music stands
      3. Pianos and other studio-owned large instruments, e.g., organs; mallet, symphonic and hand percussion; guitar/bass/keyboard amplifiers
      4. Recording gear and equipment
      5. Mixing console surfaces, computer keyboards and other equipment surfaces commonly operated by hand.
    3. Cartage companies to ensure sanitary handling and delivery of encased instruments

2. Social Distancing and Safety

  1. The number of musicians and other participants per session will be strictly limited by the parameters of social distancing for each facility.
  2. All participants shall wear masks at all times except during actual performance by wind and brass players
  3. Minimum distances shall surround each individual at all times:
    1. Floor plans shall be created for each studio and booth, with layouts that will in every case provide for the following:
    2. 6 feet for everyone, including string players, percussionists, harpists, pianists, music prep professionals, crew and booth participants
    3. 9-12 feet for wind and brass players while they are on the stand
    4. Brass instruments will require accommodation for condensation that is typically left on the floor surface; some sort of sanitary receptacle shall be provided and disposed of safely.
    5. Studies are currently underway in regards to air expelled by wind players through their instruments; adjustments to distance between players may be required.
    6. Control Room/Booth personnel currently may require the presence of a composer, engineer, recordist, orchestrator, music editor, director and producer. Each booth shall be divided into stations created for social distancing of 6 feet per individual, and in no case will more individuals than distancing requirements call for be allowed in the Control Room/Booth.
    7. Studio personnel working to make adjustments to to microphones and other equipment in close proximity to musicians shall wear masks and gloves.

3. Sheet music and other paper materials

  1. Music prep professionals (librarians, orchestrators and copyists) shall follow mask and glove protocols for handling, passing out and collecting sheet music.
  2. Contractors shall accept tax forms and other collectively bargained forms (Cartage) digitally, or via mail.
  3. Musicians shall conclude the session with sheet music collected on the stand.

4. Illness-related issues

  1. Any musician, crew or other participant who exhibits symptoms as defined by the CDC shall not attend the session.
  2. Any musician, crew or other participant who exhibits or feels the onset of such symptoms during the session shall leave immediately.
  3. In either case, testing and tracking shall be undertaken immediately.
  4. Issues regarding how testing and tracking will occur, who will do the tracking, how records are kept, privacy, HIPAA and more will need to be established in advance of scoring
  5. Musicians or crew who report symptoms either shortly before or during the session shall not be deprived of wages or benefits