The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York will require COVID-19 booster shots for all staff amid an alarming rise in Omicron cases across the country. The museum will extend remote work until Jan.31 for some employees, but front-line workers in the retail, security and visitor services departments will still need to work on-site and will receive a $ 50 daily bonus, according to a internal email to staff obtained by Hyperallergic.
“As we prepare for the holidays and the following weeks, as a precaution, we decided that the MoMA employees who work at the Museum and QNS [MoMA’s library branch in Long Island City, New York] and those who can carry out their job responsibilities while working remotely can, with the permission of their managers, work from home from December 27, 2021 to January 31, 2022, “said an email sent by the department. Human Resources Department of the museum on December 22. email, all staff will return to work on site on February 1.
The email goes on to announce that MoMA will “expand the requirement to be fully vaccinated to include a booster shot” within seven days of the worker’s eligibility to receive one (six months after the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and two months after of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine). Workers who are eligible to receive a booster shot by January 31 must show evidence of having received the booster shot by that date. Those who will be eligible for the booster shot after the January 31 deadline must provide HR with the end date of their first two shots by the end of January and show proof of a booster shot within a week of your eligibility date.
COVID-19 cases in New York State have skyrocketed more than 80% in the past two weeks due to the spread of the highly communicable Omicron variant. The number of cases reported in the last week was the highest since the start of the pandemic. Last week, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that it reduced its visitor capacity to 10,000 per day, cutting its average daily attendance in half during the holiday season, and suspended meals in its cafeteria to contain the risk of infection. Before that, the Metropolitan Opera became the first New York City institution to require proof of a reinforcement of its staff, performers, and audience.
In an email to Hyperallergic, a MoMA spokesperson confirmed the new security measures, saying they were based on New York City’s Key to NYC COVID-19 vaccination mandate for businesses, which requires all staff to show proof. of at least one dose of vaccine as of today. December 27 (Workers will have 45 days to show proof of their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines; they are not yet required to show proof of a booster shot).
“Since our reopening to the public in August 2020, we have required all staff and visitors 2 years and older to cover their faces in all interior areas of the Museum campus,” added the spokesperson, noting that the daily capacity The museum remains restricted to fewer than 10,000 visitors.
A MoMA worker at a public-facing booth who spoke to Hyperallergic on condition of anonymity criticized the new security guidelines as insufficient, accusing the museum of following a “carrots and sticks” policy.
The worker noted that the museum had paid frontline workers the same $ 50 daily bonus at an earlier stage of the pandemic, but has since stopped “even though things were still bad.”
The worker, who says he recently recovered from COVID-19, accused the museum of failing to safely address an alleged surge of infections among staff.
“I informed HR that I had tested positive for COVID and was experiencing symptoms while on the job, but they never sent an email warning other workers I came in contact with,” the worker stated. “I personally informed them that I had tested positive and encouraged them to get tested.” MoMA did not respond to these allegations.
When asked how the museum could better address his safety concerns, the worker said MoMA should follow the Met’s lead and reduce attendance to “prevent bottlenecks and allow for greater social distancing.”
“I would expect the museum to slow down a bit and take density out of the equation, but I guess they don’t want to lose money.”
“The health and safety of our staff and the public remain MoMA’s top priority,” the museum’s spokesman said in response. “We work closely with health experts and government officials to stay abreast of the latest information on COVID-19 and to remain vigilant in our efforts to protect the health and safety of all.”
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