In many localities where stand-ins work, public mask requirements aimed to protect people from coronavirus infection are loosening. This is largely because more and more people are becoming fully vaccinated, and their risk of serious infection or death from COVID-19 is believed to be significantly diminished.

Notably, though, as reported by Law360, labor unions are not necessarily on board with the loosening of mask requirements, citing the CDC’s guidance relaxing mask-wearing was not peer-reviewed, was based on incomplete data, and ignores recent research showing mask-wearing is a key part of public health.

Not every U.S. employee is unionized or otherwise subject to the pre-employment, negative COVID-test requirements that many TV/film stand-ins are. Jobs outside the entertainment industry do not necessarily require COVID testing, so fully vaccinated employees might be positive for SARS-CoV-2, not know it, show up to work, and never become symptomatic. Without testing, their daily mask-wearing calculations do not threaten their work.

But for stand-ins, the extra security of pre-employment COVID testing makes their mask-wearing calculations quite different. TV and film productions where many stand-ins work still require negative tests for the coronavirus pre-employment.

Being fully vaccinated does not preclude testing positive for SARS-CoV-2. TV host Bill Maher recently tested positive for the coronavirus despite being fully vaccinated, and as a result two episodes of his live HBO show Real Time were scrapped. (Of note to Stand-In Central readers, the hosting responsibility did not fall to Maher’s stand-in.)

So, you might be fully vaccinated yet still test positive for the novel coronavirus. As a result, even if you develop no symptoms, you may be barred from stand-in work for up to two weeks.

Knowing this, stand-ins presented with pre-employment requirements for a negative COVID test and a loosening of mask mandates may not be so fast to doff their masks in their daily public lives. Doing so may mean they can live comfortably if infected, but doing so many mean if infected, they cannot do stand-in work for a bit.


If you are fully vaccinated, and if you want to continue to be available for stand-in work, you may want to calculate your risks.

Calculating your risk may first involve looking at your economics. Ask yourself if you can afford to be out of stand-in work for two weeks if you test positive. Keep in mind that being out of stand-in work not only may diminish your income, but also it may diminish your possibility of qualifying for health insurance or a pension credit.

If you feel you can manage a two-week diminution of income, and if you don’t feel your health insurance or pension-credit eligibility will be threatened, you might decide you can take the risk and relax your mask-wearing requirements in daily public life.

Of course, this assumes that testing positive when you are fully vaccinated won’t lead you to become hospitalized, lead you to experience long-term side effects of COVID-19, and lead you to testing positive more than two weeks later. Remember that COVID-19 is a serious, sometimes fatal, and sometimes long-term disease. So health risks still remain a calculation, and the decision to shed a mask in your daily public activities is not merely an economic one but fundamentally a health one.

Your Plan?

Ask yourself: What is your plan about when to wear a mask, and when are you okay not doing that? Are you okay walking a trail without a mask, if no one is around? When you come across someone in passing, do you don a mask for that short period of time, or forego it? How much faith do you put in the protection your vaccine gives you, and how much do you protect yourself still despite it?

Overall, just keep in mind that for the time being, TV and film productions generally require you to test negative for the coronavirus as a condition of work. So if working as a stand-in is still important to you, it may be a wise calculation to keep wearing a mask in your daily public activities until something changes.

How are you handling the pursuit of stand-in work and the loosening of mask requirements? Are you still wearing a mask in your daily public activities, or are you fully embracing taking off your mask in the places where you go? Share your approaches in the comments below!