A group of penguins watch sea lions swim at the Vancouver Aquarium. (Vanaqua/Instagram)

Vancouver Aquarium to shut its doors, focus on new business model amid COVID-19 losses

Welfare of animals is top priority, CEO says

The Vancouver Aquarium will shut its doors to the public on Sept. 8 to focus on transforming its public-facing business model to adapt to the pandemic.

In a letter to the public Monday (Aug. 31), Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson said the aquarium has had a difficult time adapting to a COVID-19 model of operations. The facility said it was at risk of permanently closing earlier this spring as the pandemic forced it to temporarily shut its doors.

Although the aquarium reopened this summer, and despite a Vancouver Whitecaps aided fundraising campaign, Gustavsson said the situation has not improved.

READ MORE: Vancouver Aquarium, at risk of permanently closing, raises $600K in donations

“For the two-months we were open this summer, ticket sales were down by almost 80 per cent and our not-for-profit aquarium was losing more than $1 million dollars a month,” he said.

“Over the coming months, we will focus on transforming our business model so that we can be financially sustainable in this new world.”

The aquarium will continue to employ a team of 75 staff, including biologists, animal care experts, water quality technicians and veterinarians, to take care of its animals. The facility received $2 million from the federal government to cover animal care costs in July.

With capacity restrictions expected to continue well into next year, the aquarium has no anticipated reopening date.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Vancouver Aquarium

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sunny skies ahead for Fraser Valley this week

Rain and smoke nowhere in the forecast after weeks of weather alerts

Chilliwack seniors invited to drive-through breakfast

Event held to acknowledge the difficulty faced by Chilliwack seniors during pandemic

VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Blue at the Chilliwack SPCA

‘He’s a very laid back, easy-going guy, but still very active,’ says SPCA branch manager

Chilliwack hospice hosts candlelight walk for those who have lost loved ones during pandemic

People invited to ‘celebrate the life of your loved one’ at Illumination Walk

Garage sale happening now at Atchelitz Threshermen’s Association in Chilliwack

Due to COVID-19, the event is one of the association’s only sources of income for the year

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

VIDEO: COVID won’t dampen Lower Mainland woman’s Halloween spirit

Langley’s Tanya Reid posted video offering suggestions of how trick-or-treating might look for her

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Most Read