After closing its doors for four months during the pandemic, the New England Aquarium reopens Thursday with new coronavirus safety policies in place.
Reservations are required for visitors, who will be screened for coronavirus symptoms upon entry. Masks are required for anyone over the age of five and encouraged for children over the age of two.
Certain exhibits have been adjusted to maintain safety, including the Shark and Ray Touch Tank, which has been converted to a viewing-only experience. Other exhibits like the Edge of the Sea Touch Tank and Science of Sharks exhibits will remain closed.
A one–way foot traffic pattern will be implemented throughout the building and visitors will be reminded to maintain physical distance from others.
The New England Aquarium is also reducing capacity to just under 15 percent, which equates to about 240 visitors, plus staff, at any given time.
"Unlike a lot of other cultural institutions in town, we haven't really been closed because we have 20,000 animals we have to continue to maintain even though we're closed to the public," aquarium President and CEO Vikki Spruill said. "We’ve had limited staff - they're really our first respodners - and I'm deeply grateful for them. They've been in the building since day one since we closed."
Spruill added that while workers were furloughed since the aquarium closed on March 13 due to the pandemic, they plan to bring those employees back as it reopens.