With the city and Cook County under stay-at-home advisories due to a surge in cases of COVID 19, the Shedd Aquarium has decided to close its doors through the remainder of the year, targeting Jan. 2 for reopening, the aquarium announced.
The closure takes effect at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
“While the aquarium’s doors may physically close, Shedd’s mission has never been more alive and open,” President and CEO Bridget Coughlin said in a statement. “We remain committed to creating meaningful moments of learning, joy, engagement and respite, and to do our part to continue to support the recovery and healing of our city and state.”
During the closure, the aquarium will continue to connect people with aquatic life through digital programming that includes virtual animal encounters and aquarium adventures. Aquarium staff hinted that people might also see a return of the penguin field trips that were so popular during lockdown in the spring.
Essential staff will continue to work on-site to care for the aquarium’s 32,000 animals and maintain the facilities. Employees who can work from home will continue to do so, and, as part of Shedd’s commitment to continue paying all staff, those whose jobs can’t be performed at home, such as guest relations, will be compensated, similar to in the spring, according to the Shedd.
Follow Shedd’s social media pages for updates.
Field Museum follows suit
On the heels of the Shedd’s announcement comes word that the Field Museum will also close temporarily, from Friday until at least Dec. 4.
“As a scientific institution, we are closely heeding the advice of medical and public health experts,” Field Museum President Julian Siggers said in a statement. “We will remain in close contact with our local and state government to figure out a plan for safely reopening.”
All staff members will continue to be paid through the closure, the Field Museum said.