Aquariums welcome back visitors for the first time in six months
PINE KNOLL SHORES, N.C. (WITN) - It’s been six months since COVID-19 forced the North Carolina Aquariums to close their doors, but on Monday they were finally able to welcome back guests under Phase 2.5 of the state’s reopening plan.
The Pine Knoll Shores location has been anxiously awaiting when they would be able to bring back visitors and while some changes have had to be made, leaders for the aquarium say they are just excited to see people back inside of their building.
Liz Baird is the Aquarium’s Director. She says it was overwhelming to finally be open. “When I saw those first guests walk through the door, I got teary-eyed. It has been a really long, hard time without our guests here because we exist for education and conservation,” said Baird.
In order to stay within the COVID restrictions, capacity has been limited inside of the aquarium and staff members are continuously cleaning any high touch surfaces.
“We’re following the 3 W’s making sure that folks are wearing masks, wearing cloth face coverings, staying six feet apart and of course providing a lot of hand sanitizer,” said Baird.
New directional signs have been placed throughout the building and some popular aspects of the aquarium, like the stingray touch tank are still closed.
“Additionally we’ve got signage out to remind people of those distances and we’ve removed some items from the floor so they are less likely to be touched,” said Baird.
Another precaution the aquarium has taken is requiring that tickets be purchased in advance and visitors are given a start time for when they are allowed in.
Cindy Meyers is the Coordinator for Visitor and Member Relations and says this helps to keep crowds from forming.
“Those tickets we’re selling them in hourly slots but that doesn’t mean that it can only be an hour, we’re just trying to spread people out, kind of spread them out at the entry,” said Meyers.
You can purchase tickets on the Pine Knoll Shore’s Aquarium’s website, http://www.ncaquariums.com/pine-knoll-shores.
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