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

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

SD 10 secures $3 million in funding to help build Nakusp Elementary School child care centre

The centre will provide 96 new child-care spaces in the village

West Kootenay mother searching for son missing since Sept. 1

Police are investigating the disappearance of Cory Westcott

Man whose crime spree began in Nelson pleads guilty in death of female passenger

Anthony Cortez scheduled to be sentenced for 2017 incidents

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

B.C. marriage annulled because husband was unable to have sex with wife

Husband did not disclose any sexual health concerns to his wife prior to marriage

White Rock’s namesake spray-painted with Black Lives Matter slogan

Vandalism occurred sometime between Friday and Saturday

B.C. VOTES 2020: B.C. Liberals vow to eliminate sales tax for a year

From 7% to zero, then back in at 3% to stimulate economy

The holiday everyone needs this year: Vote for your favourite in Fat Bear Week 2020

Voters will get to decide who gets to take home this year’s most coveted prize

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

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

Most Read