March 29, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

With the Oscars taking place on Sunday – yesterday, in Australian time – one of the most widely recognised events for the film industry had some strict COVID-19 protocols in place.

Following reports of several COVID cases likely caught at the BAFTAs in London two weeks earlier, organisers of the Oscars tightened their requirements a few days prior to the ceremony, barring anyone from attending who had tested positive for COVID within five days of the ceremony and requiring those who had tested positive six to 10 days prior to the ceremony to have two negative tests – either PCR tests or supervised rapid tests from two specific providers – more than a day apart in order to attend.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the institution behind the Oscars, also advised attendees to avoid crowds and enclosed spaces prior to attending the ceremony and limit their social interactions.

COVID prevention measures already in force included requiring attendees to take two PCR tests before attending, on March 24 and 26. According to mainstream media reports, 800 seats were removed from the theatre – around 24 percent of its normal Academy Awards capacity – to allow for more social distancing at the event. Media reports suggest that the seats were removed from the bottom level of the theatre where the A-List stars are seated, rather than upper levels which apparently accommodate the less famous.

All audience members were required to be fully vaccinated, however performers and presenters did not need to be vaccinated.

Last year’s Academy Awards ceremony took place at the major train station in Los Angeles, Union Station, with a rotating audience of 170 and masks required during commercial breaks. Remote acceptance speeches were reportedly not allowed.

According to media reports, 2,500 people were invited to the awards ceremony in 2022.