The National Aquarium in Baltimore is temporarily closed to address issues with crowding and social distancing at some exhibits.
On Sunday, January 17, the Baltimore City Health Department closed the National Aquarium in Baltimore (NAIB) for failing to maintain social distancing at exhibits. According to an article in The Baltimore Sun, the aquarium had previously been issued warnings about overcrowding and failure to ensure social distancing at some of the exhibits. When those issues continued, the health department ordered the venue to close temporarily until they could find a solution.
Courtesy of The Baltimore Sun
The NAIB website lists several changes they've made in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, including limiting occupancy to 25 percent and restricting admission to timed entries. They've discontinued the stroller check, backpack, and locker rentals. All visitors are required to wear masks and there are temperature checks prior to entering the building. They've also closed the 4D theater, the touch pools, and the seating in the Dolphin Amphitheater, and they're controlling flow by setting a one-way route through the venue (prior to the pandemic, guests could wander the exhibits in any order they liked).
All of these measures that were already in place are likely why an Aquarium spokesperson characterized most of the feedback they received from the Health Department and the Fire Marshall as positive, and why everyone feels optimistic that they should be able to fix the remaining issues and reopen soon. The Health Department did not issue any fines and they're working with the Aquarium to find good solutions to the problems.
Have you made it to the Aquarium during the pandemic? Let us know your thoughts on this closure in the comments.