British Columbia

Vancouver Aquarium reopens with emergency funds from federal government

The Vancouver Aquarium has reopened after a three-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Aquarium desperate for visitors as it continues to fend off bankruptcy

Terry Beech, Burnaby North-Seymour MP, visits the Vancouver Aquarium with his wife and daughter after announcing a $2-million grant to the aquarium in Vancouver on Friday. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

The Vancouver Aquarium has officially reopened after a three-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The aquarium, which initially closed March 17, says it was losing more than $1 million every month and was in danger of permanently shutting down unless it received financial aid. 

On Friday, the federal government stepped in and provided $2 million in emergency support to the not-for-profit aquarium.

"Our message to the tourism industry is clear: we're working with you to support good jobs and help B.C. tourism come back strong." said Mélanie Joly, minister of economic development. 

The head of the Ocean Wise Conservation Association, which runs the aquarium, said while the funding is crucial, the aquarium's long-term survival is still in question. 

"We are hopeful that the community will continue to support the 64-year-old Vancouver Aquarium by buying a ticket and coming back to visit us," said association CEO Lasse Gustavsson.

The Vancouver Aquarium reopened Friday after being closed for more than three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Safety of visitors

A number of new protocols have been put in place to enhance visitors' safety as they view the aquarium's 70,000 marine animals.

All visitors must reserve tickets online for a specific date and time to control the number of people in the facility. 

Guests will have only 90 minutes to travel one-way through the aquarium's six zones and 86 indoor and outdoor exhibits. 

Face masks must be worn by all visitors, except children under the age of three. Masks will be available for purchase at the gift store. 

Enhanced cleaning, physical distancing measures and hand sanitizing stations are also in place. 

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