Science World may struggle to stay open after coronavirus restrictions end

Apr 17 2020, 1:06 pm

Following an announcement by the Vancouver Aquarium this week that the 65-year-old facility in Stanley Park could be forced to close permanently in the wake of the pandemic, another popular Vancouver attraction says it could be facing dire consequences as well.

In mid-March, Science World closed its doors indefinitely as part of the measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, and as a result it immediately lost 85% of its revenue, Science World President and CEO Janet Wood said in a statement to Daily Hive.

This loss in revenue meant the “heart-breaking decision was made to temporarily lay off all of our part-time staff as of April 6, and all of our full-time staff have taken at least a 20% pay cut,” she said.

Now, as the weeks continue to pass with no firm end date in sight, Wood said this situation “will be hard for us to recover from,” and “has been a devastating blow” to the organization.

Wood said that while the facility is grateful for the assistance provided by the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy – as well as the donations that have come in – she added that “with operating costs being about $1 million a month, and only 2% of our funding coming from government, we really need support from our community right now. There is a long road ahead for us.”

And while Science World is “doing everything we can to ensure that we have a Science World to come back to, the longer this continues, the harder that becomes,” said Wood. “There are many things we do not know right now, such as when we will be able to reopen and what that might look like when we do with Government restrictions.”

And when it does reopen, “we will continue to take our lead from the public health experts.”

This, she said, means that a reduction in visitor numbers “will be the new normal for a time, in addition to extra cleaning and sanitary protocols.”

In addition, “we may or may not be able to do events.”

Wood said that although the building remains closed, “our team is still committed to delivering science outreach across BC by transitioning our content online including the experiments, activities and even our demonstrations at Centre Stage, as well as supporting teachers with much-needed learning resources.”

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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