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Visitors asked to stay 'six penguins' apart as Vancouver Aquarium reopens

Last Updated Jun 26, 2020 at 7:49 am PST

(Courtesy Vancouver Aquarium)

The Vancouver Aquarium is reopening to visitors on Friday

A number of changes have been brought in an effort to keep visitors safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The aquarium shut down in March due to the pandemic

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The Vancouver Aquarium is opening its doors to visitors again starting Friday, more than three months after it shut down because of COVID-19.

There are a few changes, including ticket reservations and hand sanitizer stations throughout the building.

Visitors — except those under three years old — are also required to wear non-medical face masks.

People are encouraged to practice physical distancing, meaning they’re asked to stay “six penguins” apart from other guests and staff, and will be given about an hour and a half to follow a one-way flow through six areas as well as dozens of exhibits — both indoor and outdoor — on the main level.

You’ll also want to leave the cash at home, as the facility will only accept credit and debit cards for payments at this time.

The aquarium has been in financial trouble because of the closure, at one point saying it projected to lose $3.3 million a month after shutting down.

Lasse Gustavsson, CEO of Ocean Wise, which operates the aquarium, had said in mid-April there were fears the aquarium wouldn’t be able to reopen, adding it needed to secure at least $1 million a month in immediate financial support to be able to stay afloat.

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On June 10, the attraction said it had raised enough money to keep its emergency rescue centre open. The Marine Mammal Rescue Centre surpassed its fundraising target of $125,000 after the pandemic forced the aquarium, the centre’s main source of funding, to shutter.

The Vancouver Aquarium closed to visitors on March 17 and was forced to lay off 60 per cent of its staff temporarily. Another group of workers was reduced to part-time.

-With files from Paul James, Kathryn Tindale, and Lasia Kretzel