Vancouver Aquarium remains open "with added precautions" around coronavirus

Mar 13 2020, 11:37 pm

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, events across Metro Vancouver are getting cancelled, but other establishments in the city are choosing to remain open.

Among them, the Vancouver Aquarium, which said on Friday its regular operating hours “remain uninterrupted” but “with some added precautions.”

In a statement, the Aquarium said it is “closely watching the situation” related to COVID-19.

“At this time health officials have assessed the risk to British Columbians as ​​​​​low and our regular operating hours remain uninterrupted, with some added precautions,” the Aquarium said. “Some of our programming will be impacted and we appreciate your patience and understanding.”

The Aquarium said it is also asking guests to “follow the actions recommended by health officials and refrain from visiting if feeling unwell. We understand that visitors have concerns and we want to share with you the actions we are taking to ensure the safety of our community.”

In addition to pre-existing measures “it takes every day,”  the Aquarium said it has also taken some additional steps which include the following:

  • Hiring additional cleaning staff;
  • Increasing the frequency of disinfecting surfaces that are frequently touched, including high traffic areas such as the café, bathrooms, elevators, touch screens, benches, railings, door handles and transaction points;
  • Installing additional hand-sanitizing stations throughout the galleries and behind-the-scenes;
  • Temporarily suspended our face painting offering;
  • Training staff about infection prevention specific to coronavirus;
  • Creating a COVID-19 task force that monitors the situation “minute by minute.”

The aquarium also said that “out of an abundance of caution and protection for our animals, we are temporarily suspending animal encounters.”

And although the risk to “both visitors and animals is extremely low, we are erring on the side of caution and appreciate your understanding.”

Visitors are also being asked to take steps themselves to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including:

  • Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol;
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, mouth, or ears with unwashed hands;
  • Avoiding contact with anyone who is sick.

“As a science-based organization ourselves, we encourage everyone to refer to science-based sources of information on this virus,” the Aquarium said. “If you have a fever or flu-like symptoms, or have traveled from a high-risk area, please call 811 and follow self-isolation recommendations, please do not visit the Aquarium.”

The facility noted that this entire situation is one that is “complicated, rapidly evolving…and one that reminds us all of our responsibility to look out and care for our collective community.”

The Aquarium said it will continue to “monitor the situation updates as they are made available. “We appreciate your cooperation and patience as we navigate this together.”

With coronavirus on the rise, the BC Ministry of Health is reminding individuals who attend events and large gatherings to monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. And if you’re not feeling well, they recommend staying home at this time. Also, due to unexpected cancellations, please check the event you plan to attend is still taking place. Keep up with COVID-19 news here.

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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