New England Aquarium announces temporary closure in response to COVID-19 outbreak

Health and safety of staff, visitors, and animals remains top priority

BOSTON, MASS. (March 12, 2020) – In a precautionary move to protect staff, visitors, and animals amid concerns over the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, the New England Aquarium is closing to the public and suspending all events and educational programming for a minimum of three weeks.

“The New England Aquarium has been closely monitoring this situation, taking the necessary steps to protect all who come through our doors. We ultimately decided a temporary closure was in the best interest of our dedicated staff, volunteers, visitors, and the animals who make this such a special place,” said Vikki N. Spruill, CEO and President. “Care of our animals is a top priority that will continue on a daily basis.”

The Aquarium is joined by other Boston cultural institutions in temporarily closing while monitoring the evolving pandemic. In a joint statement issued today, Tim Ritchie, President of the Museum of Science, and Carole Charnow, President and CEO of the Children’s Museum, joined with Spruill to voice their unity in taking these preemptive and protective measures. There have not been any reported cases of infection or exposure at any of these institutions.

“We are grateful to have a working partnership with these institutions and are united in our priority to protect the public and our communities,” Spruill said.

The closure, effective close of business today, will be in effect for a minimum of three weeks. The Aquarium will reopen once the leadership team is confident any risk to the public has declined. During this time, staff will continue to work both on- and off-site while practicing social distancing. A dedicated custodial crew will continue cleaning and disinfecting the main building, Simons Theatre, and staff offices. Any ticket reservations will be honored for later visits once the Aquarium reopens.

Because ocean animals are at the heart of everything the New England Aquarium does, the institution wants to assure the public that its animals are healthy. The Aquarium will continue to provide them with dedicated care daily and remain in constant touch with state, national, and international veterinary networks to monitor updates. The Aquarium plans ahead for the animals in its care. There is currently a surplus of essential food and medical supplies on hand to ensure the animals continue to thrive.

The Aquarium will continue to monitor updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and Boston Public Health Commission closely as the situation unfolds. The Aquarium’s ocean conservation and education work will continue online via social media platforms and blog posts. For updated information on the closure, please visit neaq.org.

ABOUT THE NEW ENGLAND AQUARIUM

Since 1969, the New England Aquarium has been a catalyst for global change for our ocean. Through public engagement, commitment to marine animal conservation, leadership in education, innovative scientific research, and effective advocacy and partnerships, the Aquarium is dedicated to building a vital and vibrant ocean on this blue planet. Learn more: neaq.org.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Suzanne Liola Matus, 617-226-2322, smatus@neaq.org