When Will We Reopen?
These are interesting times we’re facing; streets are deserted, businesses are closed, people are peeking through their windows instead of greeting each other face-to-face. It would be an understatement to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered our current way of life. Now, more than ever, digital connection is crucial to creating a sense of normalcy in a contactless world.
The past seven weeks for the Aquarium have sent our creative juices into overdrive as we amplified efforts to produce distance learning offerings. Bringing water, wildlife and wild places into your living rooms became our new reality. Aquarium staff (and their kids!) began filming Family Nature Challenge videos, truly showcasing that learning can occur outside the traditional classroom setting.
Throughout it all, we’ve felt the support from all of you, our Aquarium family. But we know that digital connection is not the same as standing tank side as our river otters enjoy their fishy treats, seeing a sea turtle surgery in action or experiencing a sand tiger shark swim by. These are the moments we miss sharing with you, and we hope to do that soon.
When that will happen is what we’re trying to determine right now. A lot of factors come into play when it comes to reopening the Aquarium. As a science-based organization, we want to ensure we are doing our part to help curb the transmission of COVID-19. This scenario we’re facing is unprecedented; we aren’t waiting for a storm to pass, but learning to live within its constraints. As of now, we will continue to follow the recommendations of authorities and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to determine when we can reopen. Right now, that “date” of reopening is a fluid one.
What we can share with you is we’ve already put forth a lot of time, effort and planning to ensure a safe environment when our doors reopen. We’re in the midst of mapping out multiple scenarios of what the Aquarium will look like for the guest experience. Everything from exclusive online ticketing and social distancing signage to capacity limitations and closures of high-contact areas has been discussed. At the core, we want to make sure that you feel safe when you walk through the doors and can take that journey from the mountains to the sea with a mixed sense of calm and wonder. We also want our staff to remain safe as they work within a new normal of interaction with all of you. And we want to continue to give our animals top-notch care, which comes at a premium.
We closed our doors just as our busy season was beginning. The generosity of the community has helped tremendously, but we’ve had to make some really tough decisions along the way. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, we rely on the support of our paying guests, members, foundations and the generosity of our community to remain operational. Safety is our top priority, and we know we cannot reopen until we can ensure protocol is in place to keep everyone safe.
As our admissions revenue has completely halted, we’re asking again for the support of our Aquarium family to help us get through this difficult time. During this waiting period, please consider a donation to our Emergency Relief Fund. We hope to thank you, in person, in the near future.