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Museum of Old and New Art mandates COVID vaccination for all employees

Mona has become Australia’s first cultural institution to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all staff.

mona tasmania museum

Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) has announced that COVID-19 vaccination will be mandatory for all staff, via a memo issued to workers by founder and owner David Walsh.

“I’m going to make vaccination mandatory for staff at Mona,” Walsh wrote. “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. That’s not okay,” he added. “We’ll give you a decent interval to get vaccinated, and if necessary we’ll help you make an appointment.” 

David Walsh mandates COVID-19 vaccination

“A few staff might think we are trampling on their rights, but the one right they think we are restricting doesn’t exist,” Walsh said. “Our staff don’t have the right to trample on the rights of their colleagues.

“Yes, it’s harsh to deprive someone of their livelihood for the good of others. And it’s harsh to deprive someone of their licence for running red lights. Harsh, but necessary.”

Mona has also submitted expansion plans that include a new tunnel and other additions, designed by Melbourne architect Nonda Katsalidis, to the City of Glenorchy.

“Everybody knows that David [Walsh] has a penchant for building tunnels, so he’s digging another,” Mona co-chief executive Mark Wilsdon told The Urban Developer.

Mona shelves $450m hotel plans

mona hotel

“The development won’t disrupt on-site operations, so it’ll be business as usual in the meantime,” Wilsdon added.

However, Mona’s $450m hotel plans have been shelved for now. The unnamed hotel would include artworks, experience rooms, a theatre, spa, library and outdoor stage.

“David [Walsh] still intends to build a hotel one day, but we’re unable to offer any further updates,” a spokesperson for Mona told Australasian Leisure Management.

Last year, Mona launched a winter collection using its ‘slightly coerced museum workers’ as models, an innovative cost-cutting solution during the pandemic.

Images: Mona

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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