NASHVILLE, Tennessee — As a trauma nurse in an emergency room, Kirstin Broc-Reyes had seen her share of chaotic scenes in hospitals, but nothing prepared her for being on the set of a music video for the first time.

As CEO of Live Better Solutions, which provides on-site private Covid-19 testing, Broc-Reyes administers Covid-19 tests to production employees, crews and talent. She also serves as a Covid-19 compliance officer, which involves maintaining safety protocols, like mask wearing and social distancing, on set.

It’s a collision of two different worlds: While she might be an ace in the ER, Broc-Reyes doesn’t have to worry about stepping into camera lines there.

“The crew was constantly telling me to move,” she said. “Now I’ve learned to ask where the ‘no-go’ zones are.”

Thanks to agreements signed among unions and the industry within the last few months and strict new Covid-19 compliant guidelines, cameras on movie and television productions are starting to roll again. That has meant a growing need for immediate, on-site Covid-19 testing all over the country. Small private companies like Broc-Reyes’ are stepping in, creating a new and growing cottage industry.

In Tennessee, Bob Raines, executive director of the Tennessee Entertainment Commission, estimates they’ve seen a 40 percent increase in film permits and projects since May.

Colleen Bell, executive director of the California Film Commission, said a comprehensive mandatory testing regime is the cornerstone of a safe set in a pre-vaccine environment. “Without testing, the entire cast and crew would be working in environments with unknown risk,“ she said.

This summer’s Video Music Awards was one of the first live shows under the new Covid-19 testing protocols, and for Jackie Barba, Viacom/CBS senior vice president of production, it was daunting to oversee it all.

“We had no footprint, we had no

Plano-based Toyota Motor North America and the company’s truck and bus subsidiary, Hino USA, say they will jointly develop a heavy-duty fuel cell electric big rig for the North American market.

The companies will use Hino’s new XL Series chassis and Toyota’s fuel cell technology to deliver “exceptional capability without harmful emissions,” according to an announcement Monday. The collaboration expands on an existing partnership to develop a 25-ton fuel cell electric truck for the Japanese market, which was announced earlier this year.

The first demonstration vehicle is expected to arrive in the first half of 2021, Toyota said.

“A fuel cell powered version of the Hino XL Series is a win-win for both customers and the community. It will be quiet, smooth and powerful while emitting nothing but water,” said a statement from Tak Yokoo, senior executive engineer at Toyota Research and Development.

Toyota and Hino have been working on hydrogen fuel cell technology for 20 years and see it as a zero-emissions alternative to battery power for large commercial vehicles. The companies conducted joint demonstration trials of a fuel cell bus in 2003.

Glenn Ellis, Hino’s senior vice president of customer experience, said the new collaboration is “a game changer.” Hino plans to develop a wide range of trucks with hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Hino’s parent company, Hino Motors Ltd., manufactures the top-selling medium and heavy-duty truck in Japan, buses and diesel engines, and Toyota’s FJ Cruiser and Land Cruiser Prado.

In the U.S., it assembles medium-duty trucks in Mineral Wells, W.Va. Its plant in Marion, Ark., produces axles and suspension components for Toyota’s Tacoma, Tundra and Sequoia.

Toyota isn’t the only automaker working on fuel-cell-powered trucks. Two weeks ago, Mercedes-Benz unveiled a hydrogen-electric semitruck that it touted as the future of long-haul transport.

Mercedes’ parent company, Daimler, is

Hit hard by the coronavirus crisis and with new government stimulus funding in limbo, Disney, American Airlines and United Airlines announced 60,000 layoffs in just 24 hours — leading a barrage of job losses a month before US elections.

Insurance firm Allstate warned Wednesday that it would have to cut 3,800 jobs, and Marathon Petroleum is slashing more than 2,000 jobs — 12 percent of its workforce.

No sector is expected to be spared in the wave of layoffs and furloughs.

Financial giant Goldman Sachs is cutting what it called a “modest” total of about 400 people, ending a moratorium on job reductions that it imposed as the pandemic took hold.

New jobless claims data from the Labor Department did not brighten the picture, with 837,000 new filings last week — down 36,000 from the week prior but still well above the single worst week of the 2008-2010 global financial crisis.

“The levels remain extraordinarily high,” said Rubeela Farooqi of High Frequency Economics.

“It is especially concerning that the pace of layoffs has not slowed more materially even though the economy has reopened more fully, and more and more businesses have come back online.”

Did not have to be this way

United Airlines is moving ahead with thousands of layoffs, despite a new government loan deal


Frederic J. BROWN

When the Covid-19 crisis struck the United States earlier this year, the tourism and hospitality industry — hotels, restaurants, and leisure activities — were the first forced to make huge job cuts to stay afloat.

Some major companies, like the airlines, got government aid to save tens of thousands of jobs.

But much of that aid expired on Wednesday, and partisan bickering has stalled a new package on Capitol Hill.

A loan package announced Tuesday for seven US airlines — totaling