Sunrise hosts Natalie Barr and David Koch ‘demand mandatory vaccines on set’ after last month’s Covid scare forced pregnant newsreader Edwina Bartholomew into isolation
Sunrise presenters Natalie Barr and David ‘Kochie’ Koch are reportedly refusing to work with unvaccinated hair and makeup artists after a Covid scare last month put everyone on set – including pregnant newsreader Edwina Bartholomew – at risk.
Senior figures at Seven’s breakfast show, including Barr, Koch, Bartholomew and executive producer Michael Pell, are said to be pushing for mandatory vaccines for crew members in a move that could set a precedent for the Australian TV industry.
There is particular concern about unvaccinated freelancers working for different shows across Sydney bringing the virus to ‘Brekky Central’, reports The Australian.
Taking a stand: Sunrise presenters Natalie Barr (left) and David ‘Kochie’ Koch (right) are reportedly refusing to work with unvaccinated hair and makeup artists after a Covid scare last month put everyone on set – including pregnant newsreader Edwina Bartholomew – at risk
These fears are compounded by the fact Bartholomew, 38, is expecting a child and Koch, at 65 years old, is in a vulnerable age group for Covid-19.
Barr, 53, has also apparently raised concerns because she has teenage sons, while Pell escalated the matter with Seven management on behalf of concerned staffers.
The media is considered ‘essential work’ during Covid and social distancing can be particularly challenging for those working live TV – all of which means vaccine mandates will likely soon become industry standard.
However, Seven’s move towards mandatory vaccines has apparently ‘attracted private grumbles from at least one Sunrise [staffer]’ who is unvaccinated and therefore won’t be able to work on the show, claims The Australian.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Seven for comment.
Bold move: Senior figures at Seven’s breakfast show, including Barr, Koch, Bartholomew and executive producer Michael Pell, are said to be pushing for mandatory vaccines for crew members in a move that could set a precedent for the Australian TV industry. Barr is pictured with a Sunrise crew member
Sunrise had a Covid scare on the morning of Friday, August 27, after a crew member tested positive for the virus overnight, after working at the Seven’s Martin Place studios for three consecutive days.
Bartholomew went into self-isolation as a close contact of the confirmed case but thankfully returned a negative test result.
‘Hello and welcome to Friday everyone. And we join you after a Covid-19 scare of our own overnight, a staffer tested positive,’ Barr said at the start of the program.
‘The studio has been deep cleaned. We’ve all been tested. Everyone here is OK,’ she added, as footage aired of the studio being cleaned by a person in a hazmat suit.
‘Eddy is a close contact so she’s isolating but is all right. And Kochie was already having the day off so Michael Usher is here. We’ll have more details on that later.’
The Covid-positive employee was fully vaccinated, asymptomatic and a ‘close contact’ of another case unrelated to Seven, the network confirmed at the time.
Earlier that month, Barr and Koch, 65, had their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine on air. Bartholomew is also vaccinated, and has encouraged other pregnant women to get the jab.