TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — After nearly two months of being closed, the Florida Aquarium is set to reopen to the public on Friday.
Aquarium staff has been working with infectious disease specialists at Tampa General Hospital to come up with a plan to keep guests safe.
The aquarium will operate with strict limits on attendance. Guests will be required to make reservations and show up at a specific time. The aquarium will limit guests to 150 at a given time.
“After nearly eight weeks of being closed to the public, we are excited to reopen our doors to fulfill our mission as well as support Tampa Bay’s healing process now that our state and region has begun the re-opening process,” said Roger Germann, President and CEO of The Florida Aquarium. “The health, safety, and wellbeing of every guest is our utmost priority! We are taking a phased, controlled approach to reopening and have customized the guest experience to continue to deliver a world-class experience while ensuring we operate safely, responsibly and sustainably.”
“We are grateful for The Florida Aquarium’s continued support to protect the health and safety of those in our community. By implementing added safety measures and capacity limits, The Florida Aquarium is taking a smart and phased approach to re-opening responsibly,” says Mayor Jane Castor. “I urge visitors to practice safe social distancing, wash your hands, wear a face-covering in congested areas, and keep the health of our vulnerable neighbors in mind. Step by step, we can get back to all the things we love about our city, but we have to work together.”
Along with limiting attendance and encouraging social distancing, ticket sales will be online only, as well as touchless transactions, staff and guests will be required to wear masks, and several interactive experiences, such as the outdoor play area and animal touch exhibits, will remain temporarily closed.
“We have been preparing for our re-opening for several weeks. From conducting a deep clean of all exhibits to removing unnecessary touchpoints to requiring online ticket sales, The Florida Aquarium is well prepared to provide a safe, clean and fun experience for our guests,” said Andy Wood, The Florida Aquarium Chief Operating Officer. “We will continue to coordinate with local, state and federal agencies and public health officials and are prepared to make any and all adjustments necessary now and after we open, to maintain the highest standards of health and safety for all.”
Beyond reservations and an appointment time, Admission will be timed to limit the number of guests in the Aquarium at one time.
“Humans and the natural world are more disconnected than ever, especially during the ‘safer at home’ timeframe, and studies show that the human-animal-nature bond plays a role supporting public health,” Germann said. “A visit to The Florida Aquarium is good for mental and emotional wellbeing and we are ready to welcome our guests back to provide these positive health benefits.”
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