NC Aquariums reopen under Phase 2.5 order

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PINE KNOLL SHORES, N.C. (WNCT) Families from across the state are back at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

“We saw it opened today and we’ve been wanting to come since we’ve moved here and she loves aquariums,” said Gage Bradshaw, Havelock resident.

It’s the guests making a splash at the aquarium on the reopening day.

“Oh I love all kinds of aquatic life,” said Emili Bradshaw, Havelock resident. I love sea turtles. Hopefully there are some here.”

There are as are many other sea creatures at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

The facility reopened Monday at 25 percent capacity.

They’re the first visitors since early March because of COVID-19.

“We are really excited to have guest back since we were closed since March 17,” said Liz Baird, aquarium director. It’s was really quiet and lonely without our guest here.”

Baird says this day is special for visitors, workers and even the animals.

“They’re excited to come see the animals they know love and care about so I’m excited to have them back and everybody seems to feel fairly safe walking through the door and coming to see the animals,” said Baird.

Guests now buy tickets to visit during specific time periods.

That allows employees to limit the number of people on site.

“One of the things we really have to do is make sure our guest stay safe of course we’re following the 3 w’s making sure our guest are wearing cloth face coverings,” said Baird.

Employees sanitize high touch areas every hour.

Some exhibits like the touch pools remain closed.

Baird says this is a transition phase, but she’s looking forward to better times.

“I’m looking forward to a bright future where we have lots of people continuing to come through,” said Baird.

Aquarium workers plan to follow state guidelines for increasing the number of visitors, bringing back volunteers, and continuing their normal programs.

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