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Baltimore mayor responds to crowded National Aquarium pictures

WJLA – Washington D.C. logo WJLA – Washington D.C. 1/14/2021 Alexa Ashwell WBFF
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BALTIMORE (WBFF) - Pictures from inside the National Aquarium in downtown Baltimore are raising some concern and frustration over COVID restrictions in the City.

A Baltimore County woman reached out to WBFF after a weekend visit to the Aquarium.

The woman posted on Instagram writing in part, “A slap in the face to all the Baltimore City restaurants that cannot open for indoor dining: The Aquarium was packed yesterday!”

During an unrelated press conference WBFF asked if Mayor Brandon Scott is aware of the picture.

“I am aware of the picture,” said Mayor Brandon Scott, when asked about the pictures. “I received the picture this morning, sent it over to our folks. We will be investigating.”

It’s been several weeks since Mayor Scott tightened restrictions in the City, including shutting down indoor and outdoor dining for restaurants while retail and attractions remained permitted to operate at 25% capacity, including the National Aquarium.

“Our decisions are made on public health,” continued Scott. “Period. That's it. And that's the only answer you're ever going to get from me. This is a public health emergency. We will be investigating. We know places have been closed down when they're violating the order. They will be closed down no matter who they are.”

WBFF reached out to the National Aquarium concerning the pictures.

A spokesperson did not directly address the photographs, yet released a statement,

Statement, Dale Schmidt, COO at National Aquarium:

The National Aquarium continues to follow the science and recommendations put forth by the CDC, state and local health officials and adheres to all guidelines. The safety of our guests, staff and animals remains our top priority. Since our reopening on July 1, we have limited our capacity to 25% of total occupancy, managed by a timed ticketing system. In response to COVID-19, we’ve taken great care to make essential modifications to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all, including but not limited to:

Implementing a one-way, linear flow throughout our buildings with a single entrance on Pier 3 and exit on Pier 4.

Requiring all staff and guests over the age of 2 to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth at all times and in all areas of the building.

Checking temperatures of all guests and staff prior to entry; guests presenting with a fever will be asked to leave and provided a refund.

Cleaning high-traffic areas frequently throughout the day to help safeguard against contamination.

Encouraging individual groups to stay at least 6 feet apart from each other through signage, announcements and in-person reminders from staff members posted throughout the building.

Closing specific areas of the Aquarium including our cafés, Dolphin Discovery amphitheater seating, the Living Seashore touch pools and our 4D Theatre in accordance with City guidelines.

We continually survey our guests to understand how we can improve during this unprecedented pandemic. We truly appreciate the feedback and use it to evolve our practices. Our goal is for every guest to be safe and feel safe during their visit to National Aquarium.

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