While stated that it is a “temporary pause” on public programming, the Vancouver Aquarium has announced they will close their doors until further notice after September 7, 2020. It has been a grueling year for the Vancouver Aquarium, and even after reopening in June, COVID restrictions have made their current model unsustainable.

“We’re facing the most financially challenging time in the Vancouver Aquarium’s 64-year history – with an 80% decline in ticket sales and restricted visitor numbers expected to continue well into next year,” they announced.

While shocking to hear they will be closing for the second time this year, with no timeline of when or how they will reopen, they are adamant that this is temporary. Like so many organizations who’ve had to adjust business models, move operations to remote work, and provide services virtually, the aquarium is taking this time to strategize their new model.

The first close, in March, led to the temporary layoffs of over 300 staff according to an article by the CBC, and this time around will result in over 200 permanent staff layoffs. With a current model that requires more than $3 million per month in operating costs, it’s simply not viable to cover with such a reduced number of visitors.

The goal is to spend the next period finding solutions that will provide the public with a top-level experience while staying pandemic safe and operationally profitable.

“It will allow us to focus our resources on providing uninterrupted care to our animals, while also undergoing a strategic planning process addressing how to reinvent the Aquarium…” says the statement.

While public access and programming of the aquarium will cease, operations to take care of the animals will continue and Ocean Wise is still continuing strong to support their mission of protecting our oceans. If you’re one of the 1 million visitors the Vancouver Aquarium normally sees every year, consider looking into Ocean Wise’s other programming, including ocean education, conservation, and shoreline clean-up programs to get involved in.

Photo credit: Vancouver Aquarium