Hundreds of employees at the Vancouver Aquarium were laid off on Tuesday as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ocean Wise Conservation Association, which operates the aquarium, told Daily Hive that 343 individuals (approximately 60% of staff) were given notice.
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The employees who were laid off include line cooks, customer service, interpreters, human resources, and researchers.
“With the Vancouver Aquarium closed due to COVID-19, Ocean Wise is at a loss of approximately $3.2 million a month in revenue,” Amber Sessions, director of communications for Ocean Wise, explained via email.
Sessions said that amount equates to 85% of Ocean Wise’s operating budget, and as a not-for-profit organization, they “can’t operate without this revenue.”
“In our 60-year history, a closure of this length is unprecedented,” she said. “In recent memory, we have never been closed more than a few hours, or maximum one day.”
Ocean Wise also says that despite the aquarium being closed to the public, expenses remain high because of the cost of feeding and caring for the 70,000 animals.
The Vancouver Aquarium announced a temporary closure on March 17 to slow the spread of coronavirus.