Reopening Illinois: Shedd Aquarium announces plans to open up with COVID-19 protocols

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Shedd Aquarium has announced its plans to open back up as Illinois moves into Phase 4 of Governor JB Pritzker's reopening plan Friday.

The Shedd said it will welcome back members on July 1 and the general public will be allowed on beginning on July 3. There will be new COVID-19 protocols and guidelines in effect.

The changes include:
-New, separate entrance and exit points
-Limited hourly building capacity
- Timed-admission
-Required face coverings (ages 2+)

-Social distancing of at least 6 feet required
-Circulation paths to encourage one-directional flow
-Additional handwashing and sanitization stations
- Expanded sanitization and cleaning regimen
- Physical barriers installed in places where social distancing cannot be maintained

-Temporarily pausing experiences such as the 4-D theatre and aquatic presentations

Video: Shedd Aquarium penguins visit beluga whales on latest field trip amid closure for coronavirus outbreak
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Several of Chicago's Shedd Aquarium penguins got to meet some beluga whales on their latest field trip adventure around the facility.

While the aquarium was closed, the penguins went on several field trips to visit, including a visit with the beluga whales.

"After closing our doors for nearly four months to do our part in supporting public health, we are elated at the opportunity to welcome people back to Shedd Aquarium to look nature in the eye and in person at the aquarium," said Bridget Coughlin, Ph.D., president and CEO of Shedd Aquarium. "These last few months have challenged and fundamentally changed us all. Just as people across Chicago and the world relied on online and digital experiences with animals like the rockhopper penguin, Wellington, for comfort, we know seeing animals in person is irreplaceable. We are eager to welcome the communities that supported us and our reopening. Experiencing our Mission alongside all of Chicago fuels us and has never been more important than it is now."

Members can begin buying tickets Wednesday. The general public can begin buying tickets at noon on Thursday online or by phone at 312-939-2438.
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