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The Florida Aquarium is set to reopen May 15

As the state continues to open back up, the Florida Aquarium says it will be ready to welcome guests next Friday with new health measures in place.

TAMPA, Fla. —

After being closed for more almost eight weeks, the Florida Aquarium will reopen its doors Friday, May 15.

The aquarium closed last month when Florida was placed under a "safer at home" order. 

Part of the state’s "phase one" plan to reopen is allowing places like aquariums to reopen with limited capacity. 

The aquarium will operate with enhanced health measures and limited attendance and program capacity. 

For the time being, all aquarium staff will wear masks in public. Ticket sales will all be done online and all other transactions will be touchless. Touch exhibits like Moon Bay, Stingray Touch and No Bone Zone will be closed, as well as the splash pad and playground.

“We are excited to reopen our doors to fulfill our mission as well as support Tampa Bay’s healing process,” said Roger Germann, President and CEO of The Florida Aquarium. “The health, safety, and well being of every guest is our utmost priority. We are taking a phased, controlled approach to reopening and have customized the guest experience to continue to deliver a world-class experience while ensuring we operate safely, responsibly and sustainably.”

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Mayor Jane Castor said she is excited for the aquarium to reopen but also expressed caution telling people to make sure they wear face masks, practice social distancing and wash their hands.

According to Andy Wood, the aquarium’s chief operating officer, they have done a deep clean of all exhibits and will continue to follow all public health guidelines.

On Thursday, people can start making online reservations to visit the aquarium. All guests have to buy their tickets and parking passes online or they will not be allowed in. "We want to have a contactless, touchless transaction," said Germann.

Only 150 people will be allowed into the aquarium every hour, putting the Florida Aquarium at 12 percent capacity. The state's maximum capacity is set at 25 percent. 

"The aquarium is built this way, but you'll be instructed to go one way only. Start at the top and work your way down," said Germann. 

Water fountains will not be available, so guests must bring their own beverages or purchase single-serve drinks. 

Online tickets must be reserved prior to visiting the Florida Aquarium and information can be found on the aquarium's website.

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