Mystic Aquarium Reopens To Public
New London Day, May 21, 2020
By Joe Wojtas
Mystic Aquarium announced Tuesday that it will reopen to the public on May 22 with access limited to outdoor spaces at 50% occupancy.
The aquarium, which has been closed since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said new protocols will be implemented to ensure the health and safety of visitors, employees and its animals.
According to Gov. Ned Lamont’s phased reopening plan, outdoor museums and zoos are among the businesses that can reopen Wednesday with restrictions. Mystic Seaport is scheduled to reopen its grounds on Saturday with free admission through May 29.
The aquarium’s outdoor spaces that will be open to the public include the Penguin Pavilion, Marsh Trek, Pacific Northwest habitats and the Arctic Coast habitat with beluga whales. The aquarium will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with timed-ticket visitation. Tickets can be purchased online at mysticaquarium.org/visit/tickets/. Over the first week, discounted adult admission will vary from $17.99 to $24.99 depending on the day.
“This is partial opening is a small step that we hope will benefit the region’s economy and send a positive message to all that Connecticut is strong and recovering,” aquarium President and CEO Stephen Coan said the announcement. “We hope, too, that Mystic Aquarium can be a safe and inspiring respite for people during this difficult time. We are particularly interested in expressing the community’s deep appreciation to those who have been on the front lines of keeping all of us safe.”
Safety protocols back to top
The aquarium announced that safety protocols will include mandatory temperature screenings for staff and visitors, online timed-tickets for admission and one-way pathways with social distance markers. Visitors will be required to wear face protection and staff and volunteers will be outfitted with personal protection equipment. Additional disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and hand-washing stations will be placed throughout the aquarium.
The aquarium said its custodial staff “will perform continual and rigorous cleaning of all areas of the aquarium with EPA-registered disinfectants in accordance with CDC guidelines." This will include the use of the Goodway Technologies BIOSPRAY 10 portable sanitizing system. It also said all cleaning measures will be taken to ensure the safety of the animals.
In addition, a full-time overnight crew will continue deep cleaning of all spaces after close of business each day. Employees will continue to have the support of management to stay home should they feel ill.
The aquarium also has completed the self-certified program through the state Department of Economic and Community Development that it is adhering to all reopening guidelines. Details are available at MysticAquarium.org/Reopen.
“We’re really excited to have everyone back and safety will be our top priority,” aquarium spokeswoman Dale Wolbrink said.
The aquarium is scheduled to hold special events on Wednesday for members and on Thursday there will be complimentary admission for health care workers, first responders, grocery and pharmacy employees. Each will require a reserved timed-ticket. Details are available on MysticAquarium.org.