Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is set to introduce a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for all staff.
In a note sent to his employees, MONA founder and owner David Walsh announced vaccination will be a mandatory requirement for all staff, most of which are exposed to the public visiting Australia’s largest private museum.
Walsh mentioned that any visitor to MONA could potentially be a “reservoir for that beastly COVID virus,” and that coming to work unvaccinated was a risk.
“When you go to work unvaccinated there’s a small chance you’ll get COVID and an even smaller chance you’ll die. But each time you take that risk there is a small chance you’ll kill someone else, and that’s not okay,” Walsh said.
While he didn’t mention a vaccine mandate being a condition of entry into the museum for the general public, Walsh did say he would allow “a decent interval” for MONA staff to get vaccinated and would assist them in getting an appointment if needed.
The move will see Australia’s largest private museum become the first arts and culture institution in the country to declare mandatory staff vaccination, following the likes of New York which requires both staff and visitors to a cultural institution to be vaccinated.
The news comes as MONA announced its new expansion development, as well as the decision to delay its hotel plans for the time being.
The plans for the new expansion have been submitted to the City of Glenorchy council. If approved, the development will see a new tunnel extend from the main building through to the banks of the Derwent River where the MONA ferry terminal is, alongside an extension to the jetty. A variety of other new additions have also been proposed.
Meanwhile, Walsh’s ambitious plans to open a $400 million, 172-room hotel and casino, complete with theatre, spa, conference facilities, outdoor concert stage, and other bells and whistles, have been put on hold for now.