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Tasmania’s MONA mandates staff vaccinations, reveals expansion plans

Tasmania’s MONA mandates staff vaccinations, reveals expansion plans
September 6, 2021

Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) has announced that COVID-19 vaccination will be that mandatory for all staff

Founder and owner David Walsh wrote in a note to staff on Thursday that some of them “might think we are trampling on their rights, but the one right they think we are restricting doesn’t exist”.

His communication added “our staff don’t have the right to trample on the rights of their colleagues.

“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.”

Most of the staff at Australia’s largest private museum are exposed to the public, he said, and there was a small chance that any visitor was “a reservoir for that beastly COVID virus”.

Walsh did not advise whether being vaccinated would be a condition of entry to the museum, but went on to state “I’d like to mandate vaccines for the public, too, but that’d be unfair to, for example, kids.

“We like kids at MONA. And we like risk at MONA. But we like our staff more.”

Walsh said he would allow his staff “a decent interval to get vaccinated” and would help them get an appointment if necessary, adding the analogy of traffic lights that a “government-mandated intervention” that saves lives.

He went on to say “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.”

Walsh’s move follows those introduced in other countries, including in New York where the ‘Key to NYC’ program requires any visitor to a cultural institution to produce proof they have received at least one dose of an authorised COVID-19 vaccine, and also requires staff to be vaccinated.

MONA reopened on Boxing Day last year after shutting its doors for nine months due to the pandemic.

MONA expansion revealed put hotel plans delayed
Plans for a new expansion at MONA that will include a new tunnel and a range of new additions have been submitted to the City of Glenorchy.

MONA’s development application reveals a new tunnel, designed by Melbourne architect Nonda Katsalidis, extending from the main structure through to the banks of the Derwent River, where the ferry arrives and departs, along with an extension to the jetty.

MONA also plans to create a new timber sculpture platform on the property, but plans for a $400 million, 172-room hotel and casino, revealed in 2018, have been shelved for the immediate future.

The hotel proposal was to include a theatre, spa centre, conference facilities, an outdoor concert stage and a library to house Walsh’s collection of books, documents and ‘weird stuff’.

A MONA spokesperson advised “David (Walsh) still intends to build a hotel one day, but we’re unable to offer any further updates”.

Public comment on the current application closes on 14th September.

Images: The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) from the River Derwent (top) and the museum is proposing a new tunnel and a range of new additions, designed by Melbourne architect Nonda Katsalidis (below). Credit. MONA.

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30th July 2021 - Australia’s lockdowns to end once 80% of the population is vaccinated against COVID-19

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23rd July 2021 - Museum of Contemporary Art Australia appoints Suzanne Cotter as new Director

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17th February 2021 - Expanded outdoor dining support hospitality industry in Hobart’s Midtown

30th December 2020 - Hobart’s MONA reopens after lengthy Coronavirus closure

27th November 2020 - Imminent reopening of MONA will help boost Tasmania’s tourism industry

28th September 2020 - Mona Foma announces 2021 dates in Launceston and Hobart

2nd April 2020 - Google Arts and Culture offers virtual tours of museums and galleries during Coronavirus closures

17th March 2020 - HOTA and MONA close to prevent spread of Coronavirus

5th January 2020 - Underground tunnels at Hobart’s MONA challenges visitors

23rd May 2019 - Fears that funding for Tasmania’s MONA being used as a ‘political football’

14th December 2018 - MONA ditches ‘offensive’ title to unveil plans for new Motown hotel

11th December 2016 - MONA reveals plans for Reconciliation Art Park in Hobart

15th December 2015 - MONA founder reveals plans for casino and hotel development

9th September 2015 - Albury Museum aims for the Bilbao effect

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