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Coronavirus Impact: National Aquarium Furloughs 100 Employees, Reduces Salaries After COVID-19 Closure

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The National Aquarium in Baltimore had to furlough 100 employees after it decided to close for six weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic. It also had to reduce the salary of employees that remain.

The aquarium issued a statement Monday, saying through the closure it will continue to give the animals the highest quality of care.


"In our 40 years, the National Aquarium has never experienced an event of this magnitude, which has led to a planned 6-week closure. As a nonprofit organization that relies heavily on guest revenue, being closed to the public as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to make some very tough decisions. We are closed at a time when we are normally gearing up to welcome hundreds of thousands from around the country.

During this period of closure, an on-site core team will continue to provide our animals with the highest quality of care and welfare. The Aquarium currently has on hand adequate medical supplies, food and other resources to ensure that all animals in our care will continue to thrive.

In light of this unprecedented situation, we have had to make the difficult decision to furlough approximately 100 employees as of March 29. In addition, all remaining staff will be subject to a temporary reduction in salary.

It is heartbreaking to have to furlough dedicated, talented staff members who do their jobs day in and day out with the utmost care and compassion. The Aquarium's greatest asset is our people," stated John Racanelli, National Aquarium CEO. "Our firm intention is to bring every one of our team members back to full employment as soon as we can. Though painful, these steps are a critical element in how we will survive this emergency and live to fight another day."

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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